Far too long since my last post! Last night while playing in a new poker league in the Costa Blanca, I got talking to someone just starting out in the world of online affiliating.  After the game had finished, which I won (thinly veiled brag), he asked me what my top tips would be for a new affiliate.

1. Create Fresh Content Every Day

Although hardly mentioned on most affiliate forums, fresh unique content is now more powerful than ever before. If you are not creating daily fresh content then you are definitely losing out!  Simply create daily quality content that funnels traffic to your sales pages.

2. Get Sticky!

Give your readers something to do! Find ways to make your pages “sticky”! Use videos, games, quizzes or even surveys to keep readers on your site.

3. Build A Brand!

Panda is killing thin type affiliate sites with each update. Don’t worry about exact type domains; build an authority site with at least 1000 pages.

4. Optimise Pages For Greater Conversions

It still amazes me how many affiliates simply “throw up” pages and then simply build links with in reality no effort made to determine how well their sales pages actually convert. Quality affiliates are constantly spilt testing their sales pages to squeeze every click possible form their pages. Changes to banners and call to actions can have a drastic effect on conversions.

5. Keep Under The Radar

on’t create links for your websites on affiliate forums. You will notice that smart affiliates never mention their main sites on affiliate forums as they don’t want their efforts dissected by those struggling to make money.

6. Time Is Money!

It’s very easy to end up wasting valuable time posting on affiliate forums and social networks. On many of the affiliate forums I read it seems that many do little else other than post all day on the forum. Remember time is money!

7. Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket!

Many affiliates fall in to the trap of putting all their eggs in to the “Google Basket”. Compared to five years ago we now have many great sources to generate free traffic. Utilise YouTube and other video sites and also of course social media sites. Also don’t forget that there are many other search engines you can target. PPC campaigns can be very profitable on some of the lesser known smaller search engines.

8. Educate Yourself!

No online affiliate knows it all. Spend the time each week to read a new book to increase your knowledge. To get you started read Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman.

9. Get Ahead!

Talk regularly to affiliate managers and ask about forthcoming promotions. From experience I can tell you that doing so can be very profitable as you can steal a march on other affiliates.

10. Stay Focused!

At the start of each week set your goals in regards to what you want to get done and ensure that you achieve your goals each and every week!

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When Google rolled out Panda version 1.0 back in February this year, in effect the game had changed. For years Google had been stating that quality content was the way to rank highly in Google, although we all knew, and actually achieved, quality rankings of even poor quality pages, simply with the acquisition of links. Let’s be honest and say that Google has been flawed for years and we all have profited.

Have You Been Pandalized?

Google issues penalties for a number of reasons so how do webmasters know if they have been Pandalized? Well there is an easy way to establish if a drop in rankings is due to a Panda. Basically, Panda updates roll out each month. If a drop in traffic coincides with one or more of the Panda Iteration dates below, then you are a victim of Panda.

Google Panda Iteration Dates

  • Panda 1.0: February 24, 2011
  • Panda 2.0: April 11, 2011
  • Panda 2.1: May 9, 2011
  • Panda 2.2: June 18, 2011
  • Panda 2.3: July 22, 2011
  • Panda 2.4: August 12, 2011
  • Panda 2.5: September 28, 2011
  • Panda 2.5.1: October 5, 2011
  • Panda 2.5.2: October 13, 2011

What Is Panda?

Firstly Panda is NOT a live algorithm. Panda is actually a machine learning background job which runs firstly on what many are calling a training dataset, with results exported monthly, to the actual Google search results. We already know that Panda targets duplicate content, and indeed pages with a high percentage of ads, but in reality Panda does far more. Looking at sites that have been hit, it is clear to see that many Pandalized sites, did not contain duplicate content, a high degree of ads or even poor content. So why were these site targeted by Panda?

If we are honest, many affiliate sales pages may indeed be well written, but in reality they are of little use to readers. For example if we take typical affiliate Pokerstars review pages, many contain exactly the same info. If you read 100 such pages that how many could we actually class as quality pages?

The key of course is trying to understand how Panda classifies good and poor content. I for one have been saying for some time that bounce rate must be a key factor or at the very least a starting point. I suggest you should read the article by Peter van der Graaf entitled Panda in detail. One section of the article states:

“This means that while bounce-rate (in this case: visitors returning to search results quickly) isn’t used as a direct ranking factor, it is used to teach the Panda new tricks. Signals like bounce rate are fed as bamboo to the Panda background system with the instruction to find out what patterns can be derived from characteristics that form thin content, unnatural text and excessive on-page advertising. The system picks various combinations of attributes combined to get a high degree of certainty for someone’s spammy activities”

Also when digging a little deeper I found a research paper by the man himself responsible for Google Panda, Biswanath Panda. The document gives an insight to  Massively Parallel Learning of Tree Ensembles including examples. I found the section detailing an experiment for computational advertising very interesting.

We measure the performance of PLANET on the bounce rate prediction problem . A click on an sponsored search advertisement is called a bounce if the click is immediately followed by the user returning to the search engine.

Ads with high bounce rates are indicative of poor user experience and provide a strong signal of advertisement quality.

The training dataset (AdCorpus) for predicting bounce rates is derived from all clicks on search ads from the  data size for various numbers of machines.

Each record represents a click labelled with whether it was bounce. A wide variety of features are considered for each click. These include the search query for the click, advertiser chosen keyword, advertisement text, estimated click through rate of the ad clicked, a numeric similarity score between the ad and the landing page, and whether the advertiser keyword precisely matched the query.

So from the above we can deduce that an ad clicked with the user quickly returning to the search engine is classed as a poor quality ad. We can also deduce that an ad receiving more than expected clicks, with the user not returning to the search can be classed as a great ad. It is also interesting to note that there are other considerations taken into account which I have been testing.

How To Beat Panda?

Firstly if your site contains duplicate content, poor quality content or is heavily laden with ads, then you are at an extremely high risk of being hit by the dreaded Panda. Also if Panda is indeed mirroring the example test, published by Biswanath Panda, then if you have a high amount of pages with a high bounce rate, and by high bounce rate I’m referring to clicks from Google search pages that result in the user quickly returning to the search page. Then again you are a prime target.

It seems a no brainer to me that we all need to work harder to increase our click through rates from Google search pages and indeed work far much harder in engaging with our readers. Pages with high bounce rates should be remove or updated so that the actual bounce rate is reduced. With affiliate sales pages you simply need to go the extra mile so that more users to actual read them.

Many will read this article and state that they have sites with high bounce rates that have yet to been hit. How can I explain this fact? Well remember in real terms Panda is still in its infancy. With each update it learns more and more, with the effect of hitting more and more sites. Also of prime importance is the relevance of links in regards to Panda. Many have suggested that the quality of a site’s backlinks profile can indeed raise the threshold, for now at least, in regards to being hit by Panda. At the same time though it must be stated that more and more types of backlinks are being discounted by Google, which explains why the last Panda update, left many sites with reduced rankings of 10 to 20 places. Perhaps the last Panda update simply also contained another algo tweak that did indeed discount specific types of backlinks?

The trouble is that during the course of this year Google has changed so much! Many suggest that Google has also given more “power” to authority & brand type sites in the form of a Vince 2.0 update, which does indeed seem credible. Most webmaster for the last few months seem to be blinded by Panda so all algo tweaks are quickly classed as part of Panda which is simply not true.

Recovering From Panda

The good news for those that have been “battered” by Panda is that you can indeed recover. To date I have managed to get 2 sites back from the dead, with a third site well on its way, or at least I hope so.

The third site was hit by Panda 1.0 and was hit extremely hard losing most of its 100 daily uniques from Google as you can see below.

My tactics for recovering from Panda are as follows:

  • Remove any duplicate content without any redirects. Use online tools such as Copyscape to check ALL pages.
  • Report any scapper sites that may have copying your sites content. Use this form.
  • Remove thin content pages or beef them up.
  • Remove pages with a high SERP bounce rate or improve the SERP bounce rate.
  • Add more quality pages to your site.

Also of great importance is the fact that many have also stated that once a site has been Pandalized, simply removing low quality pages has not been enough to get the site ranking again. If you look at the analytics above, you can see the site above did recover although was quickly Pandalized again. I believe it is simply not enough, in most cases, to simply remove low quality content. You have to raise the overall quality of your site once you have been hit.

The Future of Panda

As I have already said, Panda is just in its infancy. The days of simply buying Google rankings with links, will I believe, within the next year, be gone forever. Google has been flawed for some time with links having an excessive amount of power in the Google algo. The truth is many sites with quality white hat links have already been hit by Panda. Although many affiliates do not want to believe it, the game has indeed changed!

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How Does Google Define Authority Sites?

If you have read the Google Search Quality Rating Guidelines, then you will have noticed time and time again, as in other Google documents, the term “authoritive site” is used. Many have been saying for some time, myself included, that authority sites have far more power to rank in Google and indeed in other search engines. How though does Google define authority type sites? What metrics does Google use?

What are your thoughts on the metrics used by Google to class some sites as authority type sites?

Maybe some of the following are used?

  • Number of pages of a set value (useful and perhaps vital pages)
  • Brand (site name) type in traffic
  • New pages added each day or week
  • Low bounce rate
  • High CTR
  • High time spent on site

Google must use metrics to define when a site in effect becomes an authority type site. What are your thoughts?

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Yesterday I posted about what Google defines as vital queries. Google makes it very clear that only the “best of the best” authority type sites, such as the BBC and New York Time should have pages that respond to this queries (vital pages). Therefor for example, the official Madonna website will always out rank unofficial websites for vital search queries such as “Madonna”.  Google also states:

The Vital rating is used for these very special situations:

1) The dominant interpretation of the query is navigation, and the landing page is the target of the navigation query.

2) The dominant interpretation of the query is an entity (such as a person, place, business, restaurant, product, company, organization, etc.), and the landing page is the official webpage associated with that entity.

Can we though as affiliates create authority type sites that in turn create their own vital queries? And if so, create vital pages for our sites?  If we take an honest look at affiliate sites then is it very clear that very few look like official businesses or indeed organisations. I strongly believe that affiliates should now forget about “thin” type affiliate sites, although I will discuss this in later posts, and instead create big authority type sites, with a quality brand image.

Look at the big brand type sites that seem to be dominating the major gambling search queries. These sites are indeed big authority type sites that we can class as businesses and indeed organisations.  What do you think would be better for profit in the current Google climate? A network of let’s say of 20 thin type sites or just a single site with a good business brand image? I will be honest and say I have seen the benefits of building such sites although I do realise many affiliates prefer the easier option. We all know the value of links on vital pages or bloody should do by now! We also know the value of links on lesser authority sites. Remember I have been saying for some time that authority type sites are ranking for popular search queries from just internal links alone? There is no doubt in my mind that big brand type sites have more power than ever before, so affiliates should adapt rather than wasting their time on throwing thousands of links at thing type affiliate sites.

Moving on from vital pages and search queries, let’s take a look at what Google describes as “useful pages” the next highest ranked pages.

Google states:

A rating of Useful is assigned to pages that are very helpful for most users. Useful pages should be high quality and a good “fit” for the query. In addition, they often have some or all of the following characteristics: highly satisfying, authoritative, entertaining, and/or recent (such as breaking news on a topic).

Useful pages are usually well organized and pages you trust. They are from information sources that seem reliable. Useful information pages are not “spammy”.

In my next post I’m going to discuss “useful pages” in far more detail, but for now let’s pick out important aspects of Google’s statement, in regards to this classification. Most affiliates create sites then sit back and simply build links. Let’s be honest, many gambling affiliates have not updated their sales pages / site review pages for months or even years in some cases. Most gambling site reviews are basically the same with very few affiliates “going the extra mile” to update their pages with the latest news relating to the promoted site, with many being sadly out of date. Most site review pages are far from authoritive with many crammed with sign up links. I know from just referring to Google’s classification of “useful pages” that most affiliates could make their sales pages far better. Now is the time to do so!

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Although the leaked Google document does give us a valuable insight in to how Google tests the quality of its search results, it does not of course give us the secrets of the latest algorithm updates that have hit many webmaster hard. In my opinion though it does give us some valuable information, which those who intend profit from Google SERPs, in the long run, should take notice of. Over the coming week I intend to break down the document, to show what we as webmaster can actually do to create content Google does indeed class as “vital” and useful pages. This first article will simply detail how Google Test Team were told to rate pages.

URL Rating Overview

Google Test Team members were simply given a number of search queries and told to do the following:

  • Research The Query
  • Click on the URL to visit the landing page
  • Assign a rating based on guidelines detailed in the document

Depending on the quality of the pages viewed, members of the test team were told to score the pages as:

  • Vital
  • Useful
  • Relevant
  • Slightly Relevant
  • Off Topic or Useless
  • Unratable

For each of the above ratings, the team members were given a detailed description, so let’s take a look at how each score was defined as per the Google document.

The Vital rating is used for these very special situations:

1) The dominant interpretation of the query is navigation, and the landing page is the target of the navigation query.

2) The dominant interpretation of the query is an entity (such as a person, place, business, restaurant, product, company, organization, etc.), and the landing page is the official webpage associated with that entity.

To help the Test Team Google gives examples of “vital” queries such as:

Nytimes – The home page of the New York Times

We can of course say the likes of a query such as BBC would also be a vital query as would Yahoo and Amazon.

All such sites that should respond to vital queries are of course authority type sites, the best of the best authority type sites.

It must be noted that Google states in the document that…

Social networking pages for companies are NOT considered Vital.

Google does also state that…

Homepages, blogs, and social networking pages have become very popular, and many famous and non-famous people now have multiple “official” personal pages on the Web. People may have multiple homepages, multiple blogs, and multiple pages on various social networking sites, such as MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Mixi, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Official homepages of all types are Vital for famous people (and for non-famous people who have unusual, uniquely identifiable names).

Social networking pages for small groups of people (such as social clubs or musical bands) are also considered Vital.

Social networking pages for companies are NOT considered Vital.

It can sometimes be difficult to determine if a homepage, blog, or social networking page is official. Usually, official webpages for famous people are “professional” in appearance and are often linked to from the individual’s other official pages or from a Wikipedia article about the person. Please use your judgment and have high standards.

So from the above YouTube pages for the likes of let’s say Lady Ga Ga and Greenday for example can be classed as Vital, although a YouTube page for a company can’t be classed as vital. It is interesting to note that even Ford’s official Facebook page is not classed as vital.

Google goes on to state that most queries will not have Vital webpages. The document defines this by stating:

  • The query does not have a dominant interpretation.
  • The query is not an entity or is not a navigation query.
  • No official website or webpage exists for the entity.
  • No person or entity can “own” the topic of the query.

The document aids the Test Team by listing search queries that can’t be classed as vital. Examples include the likes of knitting, ipod reviews and diabetes.

Also of note is the fact that the document states that of course some search queries have multiple vital pages.

Google also goes on to state that there are more than one form of vital query. The Test Team were asked to define the vital query as either:

  • Appropriate Vital
  • International Vital
  • Other Vital

In the next article we will move on to search queries that Google asked their Test Team to score as useful. These are of course of prime importance to affiliates.

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Tonight it was brought to my attention that a 125 page pdf, intended for Google’s search quality team, was freely available online. It seems that Google is doing its upmost to get the document removed, with links to the document quickly vanishing. Does this document open the door to the secrets of this year’s updates? Well no, far from it! To be honest, the document is still available to be viewed so Google can’t be that worried about it.

I have read the full document and indeed downloaded it.  It seems to contain some real gems in regards to what quality metrics are been implemented for the new PANDA algorithm updates. I plan to write a detail summary of the document in the next couple for days, although for those who can’t wait here is a brief summary.

As many have already stated, quality does indeed play a major role in regards to ranking highly in Google SERPs. The Google’s Search Quality Team, were in effect asked to determine how relevant the content of pages were to the search key phrases. Each page was given a score, depending on the type of query, which in effect stated if the content was reverent to the key phrase.

This is a direct quote from the document.

For each URL rating task you acquire, you will see a query and a URL. You will:

  • Research the query
  • Click on the URL to visit the landing page
  • Assign a rating based on this guidelines

Perhaps surprisingly, social network profiles, it seems, are not as important as many had suggested although at this early stage of digesting the document, it seems they are an important factor for music acts and possible organised groups.

It seems “thin type” affiliate sites, especially those with pages that contained a large amount of ad space were to be classed as low quality.

Are we going to see a future Google PANDA update that targets exact match domains? Well the document states that “raters” should not assume exact match domains to be an authority in regards to the search phrase. Perhaps, and at this point I’m just guessing, then if many exact match type websites did score low with the “raters” then a future PANDA update could target them.

Although the document is now in the public domain, we don’t of course know how Google has implemented the data gathered. It is clear though that Google has taken an in-depth look at their search results and must have somehow matched CTR and other metrics to the manual research gathered.

It seems clear to me that links are now far less important and we need to understand how to make the Google algorithm score our pages as highly useful and indeed, as researches were asked to score “vital” for some specific search queries.

Expect an in-depth review in the next 48 hours.

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Last week (Oct 13th /14th) Google released yet another PANDA update which seems to have hit many sites extremely hard. Although many are still wading through the carnage, it seems that the latest update has devalued many more types of links, which has had the result of many sites suffering a mass loss of rankings. Previous rollouts of PANDA has seen sites vanish from Google SERPs, although the latest rollout seems to have had the effect of many webmaster dropping  ten to twenty places in search results. If indeed more types of links have been devalued then this would explain why many webmaster are witnessing a degrading of their rankings

As I have posted on affiliate and webmaster forums, and indeed here at Gambling Cash Cow, I strongly believe that within a year, most type of backlinks will be worthless. The days of building mini sites, then simply acquiring links and sitting back and waiting for rankings to improve, by next year will be gone forever.

I have experienced some of my lesser sites lose rankings after the latest PANDA update. One site in particular has experienced a degradation of it’s ranking, by 10 to 15 places for all key phrases. To be honest this site had been ranking with many low quality backlinks which I believe now are of no value, hence the loss of rankings.

Also of note it that my big brand authority sites have received improved rankings with NO increase in backlinks.  You can see from the Google Analytics graph below, that the latest Google PANDA update has seen search traffic increase substantially.

Brand Value

To me it seems clear that “brand value” is more important than ever before, although many affiliate webmasters choose to ignore this fact. With the latest update it seems clear that many who aim to continue as affiliates will have to make major changes to their strategy.  Forget about networks of “thin” type affiliate sites and instead build perhaps a single authority site, although I’m sure this task will be too daunting for many. Many will simply refer to existing sites that currently still maintain their rankings, although I expect many more sites to be hit over the next year.

In reality we affiliates have had it easy over the last few years. In reality those with the knowledge to acquire the right sort of links, could easily rank any site. I will be honest and say that in the past I have even launched ultra-thin affiliate sites, than have done the job of boosting my bank account.

What Is Brand Value?

There is no doubt that “brand value” does indeed exist in the Google algorithm. I have witnessed many big authority brand type sites, some of my sites included, achieving quality rankings, simply with internal links. I have not found an exact definition of how to achieve brand value in the eyes of Google although to create it I would suggest the following:

Number of Pages

I strongly believe that when a site contains, let’s say 1000 quality pages, and by quality I’m referring to content that matches the actual search phrase(s), doesn’t send readers back to Google search results for more info, pages that don’t have a high bounce rate and of course encourage users to view other pages of the site, then such a site earns great trust with Google. How many pages you actually need to be classed an authority site is indeed highly debatable.

Unique Brand Key Phrases

Of course there are other factors involved to be classed as an authority site in my opinion. For example I also believe that generating unique brand type key phrases also is a major factor. For example if a recipe site packed with every day recipes, let’s call it  tonysrecipes dot com ( I do hope that site does not exist), was generating daily search queries such as “Tony’s Omelette Recipe”, Tony’s Curry Recipe”, I strongly believe this sends a great signal to Google in regards to the quality of your site and of course builds brand value. Of course achieving this is not easy, but those that do ending generating a vast amount of traffic from their own brand key phrases.

Brand Image

I also believe that brand image is very important. I for one have noticed that co-branding program sign up pages, vastly increases sign ups. Of course having my site’s logo displayed on a major operators sign up page, also helps to build trust with my readers. I know that my readers can identify my brand type sites from just the main brand logo alone.

Of course there are many more factors that have to be taken in to consideration in regards to building a brand type authority site. Building such a site will also require a vast amount of time and effort, but those that do will be the ones who succeed in the long term.

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Yesterday a friend of mine, who due to recently losing his job, is thinking of entering the world of gambling affiliation, asked me for my top tips for a new affiliate. After a little thought I settled on the following.

Build a Brand

Yes I know I have stated this fact time and time again, but I strongly believe that brand type sites now have more power than ever before. I also believe that in the years ahead, big quality brand sites will gain even more power from search engines.

If I was starting out as a new gambling affiliate today, I would not bother about finding an exact match domain, I would be happy to start with an aged domain that I could brand. The reason I would opt for an aged domain, is simply because using sites such as Godaddy Auctions, you can acquire aged domains, that even in some cases have quality back links, for as little as ten bucks. Of course, you have to be careful that the domain you decide to purchase does not have any penalty or indeed has spam back links, but in most cases you just need to use a little common sense.

Most affiliates end up with a network of thin exact match affiliate sites, of which many have been hit by PANDA or other Google algorithm changes in the past year or so. From experience, I can tell you that if you build a quality brand type site with 1000+ pages, you will rank for a stream of hundreds of long tail key phrases, plus you find it easier to rank for competitive key phrases just from your own internal links.

Adding just three pages of quality content a day, will result in over 1000 pages during the course of a year.

Monitor Every Click

Our goal as affiliates is to generate clicks, which in turn generate sign ups, which in turn generate real money players. Yes it is as simple as that! I’m amazed that many affiliates don’t even know which of their pages get the most clicks! Furthermore, most defiantly have no idea in regards to pages with multiple affiliate links, which links are generating the most clicks.

In my opinion the name of the game is to simply find out which links and anchors produce the most clicks, plus of course, which links and anchors produce less clicks. Once you have this information then you can add more of the type of links and call to actions that get more clicks, and remove the type of links and call to actions that get fewer clicks. Basic affiliate marketing in my opinion, but in reality how many affiliate actually has this data and act upon it?

Many affiliate sites have in effect wasted clicks, which in effect are just like throwing money down the drain. Watch out for my next article which will cover this topic in far more detail.

Get a Better Deal

The rates offered to affiliates on operators affiliate pages are simply rates offered to everyone. The way I see it is that if you are an established affiliate, why should you get the same rate as someone just starting out, with perhaps no idea of what they are doing? For new affiliates I would strongly advise to push most of your traffic to one of two operators only during your first few months.  If you are generating let’s say £500 a month, it is a fact that you are in a better bargaining position if all the revenue is at one program, rather than have the revenue split between several programs.

Most affiliate managers will be happy to strike an increased deal for new affiliates with revenue as little as £500 a month or in some cases even less. Once you have an approved deal you can in effect contact other affiliate managers, telling them that you already have an improved deal with another operator, and you would be happy to promote their product if they would match it or even better it.

If you are an established affiliate and still on basic rates, then your next job should be to contact your affiliate manager and tell them you want a better deal. If they will not offer you a better deal, although most will, start looking at other programs.

Add New Content Every Day

Many affiliates start new sites full of enthusiasm to build the best site in the niche. Most though lose interest after a few months moving on to other projects. I would guess that many affiliates reading this article have sites that they have not updated for months or even years. Am I right?

Google loves sites that are constantly updated, plus furthermore, many who use Google now utilise the extra Google search options that show new content from the last hour, past 24 hours and past week. It is a fact that you can rank for competitive search terms including the likes of online poker and online casino through these search options. The key is simply to create fresh content that targets these key phrases on a regular basis.

Explore Different Demographics

As a UK affiliate I will be honest and say the UK gambling niches are now extremely saturated. I have been in this game long enough to remember that back in the day, even a crappy website would generate a healthy stream of sign ups. Those days have now gone! The good news is that there are new markets opening up all around the world. Again from experience I will tell you that these new markets are very profitable and extremely competitive.

When you start making money, invest in translating your site into different languages. Yes I know this can prove to be expensive, and to say the least awkward, but doing so will prove to be very profitable. Of course most affiliates don’t bother because of the expense involved and the hassle of doing so. You can use the Google External Keyword Tool to seek out key phrases plus there are many other quality key phrase tools you can use.

So there you have it, my top tips for new gambling affiliates. Stick firmly to the above and I can virtually guarantee you will make money!

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Ever wanted to wipe out your competitors to gain better ranking positions? Well now with the help from Google you can actually do this thanks to a flaw in Google Webmasters Tools. Yesterday some webmaster started to report that they could not only remove their own urls from the Google index but actually remove urls that they did not own. There seems to be a major flaw in the Google Webmasters remove url tool.

I have not tried to utilise the flaw but it seems many have. It also it not too difficult to impletement as you can see below.


There is though documented evidence online that indeed the flaw can be exploited and you can actually remove any url of your choice.

David Naylor, a highly respected UK SEO expert documented the flaw on his blog. You can read more about the flaw in his recent post on the matter. Google Webmasters Flaw Allows You To Remove Any URL From Their Index.

Google Page Rank Fix

Just a couple of weeks after the first page rank update for 6 months, Google issued another page rank export which resulted in many webmasters reported page rank of their sites rolling back to previous levels. I can report this was not a roll back but an adjustment.

Google recently issued a statement…..

Recently Twitter has been making various changes to its robots.txt file and HTTP status codes. These changes temporarily resulted in unusual url canonicalization for Twitter by our algorithms. The canonical urls have started to settle down, and we’ve pushed a refresh of the toolbar PageRank data that reflects that. Twitter continues to have high PageRank in Google’s index, and this variation was not a penalty.

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It seems things are going to take yet another turn for the worse, with many UK analysts predicting that the UK will follow the lead set by other European countries, such as Italy and France, and introduce regulation and tax for gambling operators who accept UK players. The recent events of Black Friday, which in effect resulted in the closure of Full Tilt and Absolute, has in effect placed the spotlight on the online gambling world in the UK.

“This highlights why the government is looking at reforming how overseas-based operators are regulated and we hope to make an announcement in the next few weeks,” a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media & Sport said.

Many of the leading UK gambling operators have set up companies offshore so they can in effect vastly reduce their tax liabilities. The cash strapped UK government has been keeping an eye on the likes of Italy in regards to the reform of online gambling in the UK. Many predict that Italy will raise 1 billion Euros in the next year from online gambling taxation whilst the UK will only raise a small fraction of that amount due to liberal online gambling laws. The UK looks set to follow Italy, with operators who accept UK players set to be hit with hefty taxation.

The bad news for affiliates is that in other countries that have licensed and taxed online gambling operators, affiliates have had their rev share deals slashed as operators have had to pay a larger proportion of their turnover in tax. It looks likes the days of 40% commission from UK facing online gambling operators will be vanished to the vaults of history.

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Those who have been working as a gambling affiliate for some years or indeed any kind of online affiliate will have witnessed many changes over recent times. Google has targeted affiliate scripts, spammers and duplicate content plus also of course devalued many types of links. Not to mention the new batch of penalties that have been introduced which have seen thousands of sites condemned to low level rankings. It is a fact that even changing internal site wide links can now trigger a penalty. It is also a fact that Google is still flawed because you can still in effect buy rankings by purchasing high quality links. Google knows this and by the looks of recent developments it seems we could be on the verge of seeing more major changes which could well indeed see the end of link building for increased rankings.

Nothing lasts forever, especially in the online affiliate world. I strongly suggest with the introduction of the Google Panda update, that during the course of the next year we are going to see major changes, perhaps of the likes we have never seen before.

Many affiliates believe that the Google Panda update, simply targets sites with low level content and sites with duplicate content. Many state that sites with pages with thin content will be condemned to the doldrums of SERPs. This of course has led to many affiliates spending a large amount of time, and indeed money fluffing out pages with an extra 500 words or so leaving them scratching their heads when their rankings did not return.

It seems clear now that Panda is here to stay with the latest version rolled out (v2.2) just a couple of weeks ago. It seems that each version claims new victims along with a just lucky few sites that return from the abyss.

I’m predicting that what we are seeing now with each release of Panda is just the start. I predict that over the next year or so, each release of Panda will claim more and more victims concluding with the Google algorithm virtually discounting all links.

Those that believe that the key to escaping any penalty from future Panda updates is to simply have pages that contain 750 or even 1000 words or more, in my opinion are misguided. From reading many affiliates forums and blogs, even site with 1000 word pages have been hit hard. It is clear that Google is now searching for quality rather than quantity!

From my own network of sites I have seen pages with “thin” content jump in SERPs without any extra links. I have also seen pages that I would class as quality content lose rankings. To me it seems obvious that Google is starting to use other metrics rather than just link quality such as bounce rate, average time on site, page views per visitor and click through rates. Also as I have been saying for years, branded sites seem to be ranking better than ever before! I have no doubt that big brand type affiliate sites will simply murder thin exact match type sites within the next year.

Also of note is that low quality links now can damage your rankings. Avoid adding site wide links to your backlink profile unless the side wide links added will only be a small percentage of your total links. For new sites with thin back link profiles avoid site wide links completely and be extremely careful with you own internal linking structure. Adding a mega menu can result in a penalty which from my own experience can take some time to expire.

For some months I have been weaning myself away from building links in favour of making my sites more “sticky”, with I must say great results in regards to SERPs. I have even taken the time to remove many links from my back links profiles again achieving better rankings. It is hard to change when set methods have worked so well for so many years. Those that don’t adapt though are at high risk to be hit by the wrath of Google in the months to come.

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Many gambling affiliates have been experiencing a torrid time of late. Although making a buck has been getting harder during the last year with operators squeezing affiliates no end, things really did take a turn for the worst with Black Friday. Add to this the fact that many affiliates have also been hit hard by the recent Google Panda updates and you will start to understand why many gambling affiliates are leaving the industry.

In all honesty all gambling affiliates knew that Black Friday would arrive sooner than later. It is no coincidence that more US facing gambling affiliate sites have been offered for sale in the last year than ever before. Affiliates with all their eggs, in a so to speak US basket, were simply playing a high risk game that sooner or later was bound to go wrong. I’m amazed that many affiliates are still plugging on with US facing gambling sites, that continue to accept US players, because it’s a no brainer that such sites have no long term future.

Over the last few years there has been rapid growth in gambling activities all around Europe. Better still, most of these flourishing markets are 100% legal, lightly targeted  and extremely profitable. Many gambling affiliates have built up decent monthly income streams from European rev share programs whilst many have failed to see beyond the US market.

Doom and gloom posts which seem to be appearing on many gambling affiliate forums are in my opinion made by those with poor long term planning skills and a complete lack of understanding of the gambling affiliate world. Yes of course I feel for those who have had their income streams virtually wiped out overnight, but as I have already said, we all knew what was coming.

I don’t see the current events leading to the end of the gambling affiliate industry. I see thriving European markets, new gambling niches and the dawn of legalised and regulated online gambling in the US now a real possibility in the very near future.

The current clampdown I’m sure will lead to the demise of all crappy US facing operators, who to be honest have pissed around with hard working affiliates far too long. It will also lead to many of the weaker affiliates leaving the industry, which in turn will only make the remaining affiliates even stronger and of course even richer in the long term.

What we are experiencing now is far from the end of the gambling affiliate world. We perhaps are seeing the dawn of a new era which will bring opportunities of the likes we have not seen for many years.

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You simply can’t compare UK bingo sites to US bingo sites as there are many differences the main being UK online bingo sites are far more profitable to promote. US bingo players are poor value compared to UK bingo players and the ratio of sign ups to RMPs is dire for US bingo sites compared to UK sites.

Being 100% honest as someone who has being working as an online bingo affiliate for over 3 years, I will say that I have never seen anything like the online bingo boom in the UK. I know many will remember the early days of the online poker boom where you simply created mini sites then watched the money come rolling in.  Well I can tell you the online bingo boom has been even better than that.

Those from the UK will tell you that especially during the autumn and winter months most of the top UK online bingo sites have been flooding the airways with millions of pounds worth of TV advertising. Many of the top UK TV programs have been sponsored by online bingo sites. There is simply no escape from online bingo in the UK.

Add to this that most UK online bingo sites spend a fortune of all forms of marketing and customer retention programs and you will start to understand how profitable the online bingo sector in the UK has been. In my opinion the market is now saturated with signups slowing down, with the British punter simply shopping around for the best deals, especially as most are feeling the pinch in the UK at the minute.

US online bingo sites lack the marketing power and customer retention programs of their British counterparts, plus of course run on inferior networks. A good analogy would be comparing Poker Stars with Entraction or some lesser network.

Many affiliates attack online bingo like they would online poker just as I did at first, but this is of course a big mistake. From my stats over 70% of my players are women, who of course are less interested in facts and stats for an online bingo site.

Those making real good money from online bingo now are doing so from news, building communities and of course list building. Without at least one of these you will just be pissing in the wind.

Online bingo has been the best kept secret for years with most affiliates steering well clear. When you see the bulk of affiliates looking towards a so called new niche then you know that the boom is just about over.

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When those thinking about entering the world of online affiliating and ask me where they should start, I tell them if they want long term success then they should plan a big authority site that after a year  will have 1000 quality content pages. I know many prefer mini sites using exact match domains but with Google clearly targeting thin affiliate sites, a big authority site is a much better option in my opinion. If you take the time to study any niche then you will find that authority sites with 1000+ pages are few are far between. The reason this is so is simply because such sites require a lot of planning and effort.

Just creating 3 quality articles each day will of course mean that during the course of a year you will have 1095 articles. One of the articles should in reality be 500 to 750 words which should on the main section of your site. This article should have a quality call to action that links to one of your sales pages. The other two articles could be used for a news section. I will still say that a news section is a must for most affiliates. With Google News approval, daily news articles can easily generate hundreds or even thousands of unique visitors a day which you can either filter to your sales pages or use to build a list. In my opinion targeting Google News and list building are “no brainers”, so I’m simply amazed how many experienced affiliates neglect to do so.

Through working with many new affiliates I can tell you that most affiliates are simply not capable of creating even 3 pages of content a day. Most start off with a wave of enthusiasm, but this in most cases subsides after around a month.  I guarantee that many reading this article will agree and have sites that are crying out for content, although the simple truth is that most fail to stick to a regime of churning out content, day in, day out.

As I said in my previous article, there is a global workforce available to help you. If you plan to become a successful affiliate then one of your very first tasks should be to delegate the task of creating content. Where though do you start?

Your first port of call should be www.elance.com.  Using Elance you can post a job for a set of articles and get dozens of writers applying to write for you for as little as $5 per article. You can check the feedback of each applicant and even ask them to supply a sample article based on the topic of your choice. If you have a bigger budget then you can offer $10 to $20 per article which of course will attract the very best Elance writers. Of course the actually skill sets and abilities of the applicants varies immensely so you will have to devote some time find a writer who is right for you. For new affiliates I strongly advise you post at least a couple of jobs on Elance. Doing so will put you in contact with at the very least a few good writers which you can call upon when you are struggling.

Another great source for online help is www.onlinejobs.ph. This site is used by thousands of Filipinos looking for work. From experience I will say that 95% of the applicants will not be suitable as I found that there English writing skills were simply not up to scratch. If though you have the time to persevere then you will find a few rough diamonds. I have hired Filipino writers and virtual assistants and have been amazed how good they have been. If you are willing to invest some time teaching them how you want things done then in the long term you will end up with a quality loyal writer or assistant. I have one Filipino who works for me who runs on of my sites on his own. He writes articles, post articles, edit images and even link builds so I can get on with other things. Filipinos on the whole expect a much lower wage than their US or European counterparts. My approach has been to start them on a fair Filipino rate then as they improve reward them on a regular basis.  I don’t have a problem rewarded Filipino’s with Euro rates once they have proved to me they are worth it.

Just a few weeks or so ago I was tipped off by an account manager who told me about a special promo his company would be running over the Easter weekend. I was too busy so I simply forwarded the email to one of my writers, added a few comments and asked the writer to create an article for me giving then a set time to post it. If I did not have writers available to me, then in all honesty I would not have produced the article. The article generated over 30 RMPs during the course of the weekend which only cost me a mere $15!

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One of my biggest flaws is that I’m a control freak. I’m never happy letting anybody do something for me that I know I could do even 0.00001% better myself. This of course is a major flaw, especially for an affiliate. Over the last 5 or 6 years I have worked my bloody balls off. I have though built a good network, which includes leading poker, casino and bingo affiliate sites.  The reward for all my hard work is that later this year I will escape the doom and gloom of Britain and emigrate to Spain, reducing my network to just a handful of sites, so I will have plenty of time to enjoy the sun.

Looking back, it now seems clear to me that being unable to delegate has hampered me and perhaps cost me a small fortune. One tip, perhaps the best tip I can give anybody who wants to be a successful affiliate is you must learn to outsource. Over the years I have had many great ideas for new sites although many never came to fruition simply because I did not have the time.

The internet has created a new global workforce which all affiliate have access to. Sites such as Elance, and Freelancer, plus hundreds of others are packed with writers, coders and graphic designers ready and willing to carry out your tasks at competitive rates. For some crazy reason my  outsourcing was restricted to hiring writers, although I would waste too much time giving them detailed instructions and research material far beyond what they required. Once they had completed the ordered content, in most cases, I would rewrite the articles anyway, which in effect meant that I had not only wasted my money, but more importantly I had wasted even more time.

In the last year I realised I needed someone like me. Someone who would simply do the tasks I carried out just like me. I spent some time researching Virtual Assistants then took the plunge and posted a job vacancy ad I will be honest and say that 95% of the applicants were not even close to the standard I was looking for. I nearly gave up but knew this was something I had to do.

After 3 weeks sifting through applications, of which many were so bad it was unreal, I had a handful of applicants with possible potential. These applicants were given a research and written test with the promise that the top 3 would receive an interview. As all 3 applicants on my shortlist were based thousands of miles away so the interviews were carried out through Skype.  A few days later I hired a Virtual Assistant.

The person I hired was in reality a rough diamond. I knew that to get him to work like me, I would have to take the time to train him. Each of the tasks I carried out on a daily basis I videoed using a free app I found online. I simply uploaded each video and urged him to contact me if he had any question. Over the course of a month or so he learned how to carry out my daily tasks just like me. He now writes articles, posts articles, installs WordPress; edits image files, uploads and downloads files using FTP plus carries out dozens of other tasks, just like me. The more he learned, plus of course, the more money he made for me, the more I paid him. I just wished I had hired somebody years earlier!

In part 2 I will detail how you can tap into the global workforce to find your own VA so many of those great ideas for new sites can be up and earning in no time at all. Better still you will learn that hiring a VA is not as expensive as you may well think!

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Well the shit did really hit the fan when the US government decided to take action against PokerStars, Full Tilt and UB. Let’s be honest about this and say that we all knew this day would come. I for one as a gambling affiliate made the decision to stop signing up US players some time ago. As I have said in previous posts, affiliates should plan for the long term.  If you look to how the online gambling industry has evolved in the UK over the last 5 years then you will realise that they are many lucrative new opportunities for affiliates in countries around the world. All you have to do is take the time to do a little research!

I’m sure many affiliates will simply redirect their traffic to online poker sites that continue to accept US players. Is doing so a smart move? Well of course not! Do you really think that the US government is simply going to let poker players switch to another site? It’s just a matter of time before the likes of Merge also are forced to stop accepting players from the US.

Remember that online gambling is a thriving industry still in its infancy.  Countries such as the UK and Spain are proving to be extremely profitable for online gambling affiliates. Better still is the fact the with UK and Spanish affiliate programs you can confidently accept a revenue share plan without the worry of being shafted.  Brand loyalty is extremely high in Europe with casino, bingo and sports book players returning to their favorite sites on an extremely regular basis. I have many players who have been generating revenue for me for over 5 years.

Now is the time to plan ahead! Study how the UK online gambling industry has evolved. Track how the new gambling industries are starting to appear in other European countries. Simply develop geo targeted sites that cash in on the new forms of gambling, then sit back and watch the money come rolling in!

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Firstly sorry for the lack of updates here at Gambling Cash Cow as I have been extremely busy. I will do my best to write at least a couple of new articles each week during 2011. I’m sure many of you are aware that Google has been clamping down on Google News approved sites. I’m sorry to say that many webmaster have seen their sites lose Google New approval during the last few months. Here are a couple of tips to ensure you keep Google happy and retain your Google News approved status.

Be extremely careful with external links in your Google News articles. If you are intending to cash in on Google News by either selling links in Google News posts or including affiliate links in your Google News articles then the chances are high you will lose Google News approval in the near future. Even some established sites that have been Google News approved for a number of years have lost Google News approval during the last few months.

Ensure all your Google News articles are 100% unique and pass Copyscape 100%. I know of 2 webmasters who have lost their Google News status because their articles included too many quotes from other Google News articles. Create quality unique fresh news content and you will be fine.

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One of the most under used techniques employed by affiliates is email marketing. I will tell you now that email marketing, or as commonly called list building, if done in the correct manner will make you a small fortune. If you think about it, then you should realise that simply gaining sign ups from an affiliate link or banner is a waste. Most of your sign ups will perhaps sign up to one of your offers and perhaps never visit your site again. With list building it is a completely different story. Once someone has subscribed to your list then you can target them with offers over and over again. Better still, if you use Aweber then you will have additional information about the subscriber so that you can send them personalised targeted offers.

Getting email marketing right is not as easy as you may at first thought. Firstly you need a “hook” to entice visitors to subscribe. Once they have subscribed you then need further “hooks” to keep them opening your emails. Open rates will fall in time, that is a fact (see the table below) so you must ensure that the very first email you send your subscriber gives full details of your main offers.

Many different factors will affect your open rates so here are 3 basic tips to keep your subscribers opening your broadcasts.

Email Subject Titles

Great thought should be given to the title of your email. Most emails are marked as junk with the user failing to open them. Think about it. How many emails a day do you send to your junk folder? Also many users now use filters to send email directly to their junk folders so some words should not be included in the subject titles of emails.

For instance let’s say we want to send our list a new poker bonus offer. Which subject title below do you think would generate the highest open rate?

Poker Stars Bonus Offer

New Bonus Offer at Poker Stars

Steve, Exclusive Poker Bonus – Claim $500 Free Today!

Well there is no doubt that personalising email subject titles does increase open rates. Aweber makes it very simple to personalise emails. Also, you have to be creative with your subject titles as you need to entice the user to open your email.  We are just brushing the surface here as there is a fine art to creating email subject titles.

Email Sent Time

This is another area most affiliate give little thought. You really want your email to be sitting at the top of the subscriber’s inbox when they check their email. There is no doubt that the time you choose to send your email will vastly affect your open rates.

I have found that sending emails between 6.30pm and 7.00pm produces by far the best open rates. This is of course the time when most have returned from work, had dinner and perhaps sat down to check their inbox. Yes this is common sense, but you would be amazed how many affiliates send emails at crazy times such as midnight, so that the email is perhaps 18 hours old and sitting at the bottom of the user’s inbox when the subscriber checks their email.

GEO Targeting Content

Aweber give details of the location of each subscriber and this data should be used for maximum effect. If your list contains a 50/50 split between US and European subscribers then it will be an utter waste simply sending US Sports tips or offers as 50% of your list will not be interested. For Example if you are sending US Football offers you could, with a creative subject title, target both US and European football. Your email content could contain 2 offers or tips. One for US subscribers, and of course another for European subscribers.

The above are just 3 basic tips but if employed in the right manner will improve open rates and of course new RMPs.

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I have always been an advocate of quality brand sites rather than thin affiliate type sites that rely on the power of exact match domains. As Bob Rains said a couple of years ago, “the world is sick and tired of affiliate sites”. Google is also not keen on affiliate type sites and many of Google’s latest algorithm changes have hit affiliate sites hard.  I strongly believe that thin affiliate type sites now have a limited lifespan.

Many favour the easy route of simply buying an exact match domain as they know that they can get a decent amount of quality traffic in a relative short period of time. Many new affiliates simply want the “easy route” to financial success. Ask any account manager and they will tell you that the affiliates that make the most money are the ones who stick at it. Successful affiliates are in the affiliate industry for the long term. They are not worried about instant rankings or instant revenue as they realise the potential of quality brand sites in the long term.

I’m not going to plug my own sites in this article but I will say that I have a decent poker forum that generates a vast amount of traffic from its own brand name. The name of the site does not even include the words poker or indeed forum.  Five years ago the actual key phrase generated zero searches in Google, although today it generates thousands of quality searches each month. Better still I not competing with any other affiliate for the quality traffic the brand name generates as it’s my brand.

I also have a bingo site which again is built around a unique brand name. Although this site was only launched in May, the brand name is already established and the name of the site alone generates decent daily traffic. That’s the power of a brand!

If you think about it then I’m sure you realise that the whole marketing world is built around brands. It is so easy and relatively cheap to build a brand online as the big affiliate earners already realise.

Build a brand!

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Yes I am guilty of neglecting Gambling Cash Cow over the last few weeks as I have had to devote a lot of my time to a new project. Casino Wonga is a new site of mine that will of course be targeted to those who enjoy casino type games including slot machines. This will be the final site I add to my network.

If you have read my previous post regarding list building then you should understand what I intend to do with Casino Wonga. Casino Wonga is far from finished although I hope (fingers crossed) to have it completed by the end of this month. My goal for the site is that when it is complete it will be 100% free of affiliate links.

For the design I used 3 designers and then coded the design in WordPress. The sites runs a little slow at the minute as no cache is being used but of course a cache will be added once the site is completed.

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My strategy over the last five years has been simple. Build a site, add great call to actions with affiliate links then generate traffic through good SEO and link building. That’s it. My strategy was as simple as that. Of course during the last five years I fine tuned my strategy by spending a great deal of time on click analysis, split testing and perhaps most importantly researching the customer retention programs of the actual sites I promoted, simply cherry picking the best sites to work with. Many affiliates are employing exactly the same methods simply because these methods work.

I have now though seen the light. My strategy was flawed for several reasons. Firstly most of my sign ups would simply sign up from one of my targeted internal pages and in many cases not come back to my site. Therefore I could only sign them up to one product. In regards to the bingo market in the UK we are now reaching saturation point. The UK media, including TV, is completely saturated with bingo marketing ads. Daily sign ups are slowing down compared to the last few years. Key phrases that use to generate floods of sign ups each month are now slowing down to a trickle. I realised a good few months ago that I needed to change my strategy. Basically I need to generate more value from the traffic of my sites.

A year ago I had great success with a detox type site. Although this is a competitive niche I was amazed how easy it was to rank for decent key phrases that generated healthy traffic compared to the gambling niche. I simply built the site using quality content such as home detox recipes, sat back and watched the traffic come rolling in with, if I’m honest, very little effort. As I was unsure which were the best products to promote I simply offered a free eBook to acquire emails. Using Aweber I then set up an automated email campaign which targeted several detox products to each subscriber over the course of a month. I was amazed to find that many of the subscribers actually purchased more than one product. A few months later the detox site was sold for a decent ROI.

After selling the detox site I half heartedly tried the exact same methods on a gambling niche and failed to generate a decent S/UD (the ratio of subscribers divided by unique displays). As I was doing ok with my existing strategy I simply carried on with the same old techniques.

A few months ago I decided to try again with list building for a couple of gambling sites. This time I spent a great deal of time researching list building techniques reading a dozen or more books on the subject. One of my sites gets around 400 uniques per day, so I set my self a target of generating 8 subscribers each day. After many tweaks and split testing I actually achieved the following.

Aweber Stats

Better still is the fact that I’m also generating a decent amount of RMPs from my list building efforts, plus of course I can target all my subscribers many times over. I have already managed to sign up subscribers to multiple products!

For me the evidence is clear that this is the way forward. With the existing site I’m using I should be able to attract 5000 subscribers over a year. I’m adding another site to my network which will be affiliate link free as it’ sole aim will be to generate subscribers.

Just imagine what you could do with a opt in list of 5000 subscribers! Remember with Aweber you also capture great additional data such as the subscriber’s location and of course the actual page which they subscribed from. This extra data is simply worth its weight in gold!

Of course, list building is not as simple as it may at first appear. From your initial sign ups, some will not confirm their subscription, some will unsubscribe and some will not open follow up emails you may send them. There are techniques you can use to boost confirmations and open rates which from experience I can tell you work exceptionally well which I will discuss in my next post.

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Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the affiliate world I learned some years ago was how to optimise a site for conversions. Anybody can drive traffic to a site. You can buy traffic or buy links to boost rankings. You can utilise PPC or buy banner space on other niche related sites. Generating unique visitors is easy, that is a fact. Converting daily visitors to real money players is a skill that many gambling affiliate webmaster lack.

Read any affiliate forum and I will guarantee you will find posts from webmasters seeking advice on how to generate sign ups. You will also find webmasters complaining about poor conversion rates even for some of the better gambling programs. Most of the time it is the actual webmasters who are at fault as they don’t understand how to optimise their sites for conversions.

Optimising a site for conversions is an ongoing process. It is not something you do and then forget about. Good affiliates will run split tests on their sales pages on a regular basis. They will monitor the bounce rate of specific sales pages, they will monitor individual call to actions, and they will experiment with different programs so that in the long term they squeeze every ounce of value from every page they create.

Many affiliates fall in love with their sites. They will use the same design of site over and over again simply because it was successful a few years ago. They will never change the layout of their main sales pages or even bother with split testing. If you study the sites of successful affiliates you will find that their sites evolve over time. Online gambling evolves over the years so we as affiliates also have to evolve as do our sites.

Many affiliates fall into the trap that to increase sign ups they need to increase traffic, when in reality they could increase sign ups simply by optimising their sites. I have sites that only receive a handful of unique daily visitors but convert at an amazing rate.

Don’t moan about poor conversion rates; simply take the time to run split tests, monitor bounce rates, monitor different programs and work on your list building skills.

More on how to boost conversion rates in the coming week!

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The search engines’ first line of defence against link spam comes in the form of yet another algorithm. While algorithms are used to determine your page content, its relevancy, and the strength of your site’s links, they are also actively watching for any unnatural appearance in your back linking patterns in an effort to combat SERP manipulation via link spamming. There are a number of points which they can algorithmically analyze to determine unnatural linking practices. The following is a brief summary of a few key points which are looked over.

1. Links which are labelled as advertisements.

The search engines can easily scan content in near proximity to your link for terms such as “advertisement” or “sponsors”.

2. Use of site-wide links.

Site-wide linking is rare in terms of natural occurrence, and it should be used only in small doses in your link building strategy. Purchased or otherwise, these links appear to be placed with promotion in mind. The only exception to this rule is the interlinking of sites which are operated by the same company. In general though, site-wide linking throws up a serious red flag, especially when the majority of your links are built in such a manner.

3. Links purchased via a broker.

Link brokers are keen to the link detections set in place by the search engines, and take all the steps they can to avoid having their product detected by the algorithms in question, but this does not mean they do not face problems of their own. An example of this was Google’s reaction to a long time proponent of paid links, We Build Pages. This action resulted in We Build Pages changing its stance on the paid link issue. You can read more at the following address, http://www.webuildpages.com/blog/link-techniques/paid-links-arent-worth-it/ .

4. Site selling links details their link sales on-site.

Many sites will have a page which outlines their advertising rates, or details regarding the acquisition of links on their site. Search engines can detect keywords that signal the location of these pages, and can automatically determine if a site is offering up links in exchange for financial compensation. These flags often lead to a review of the site, and the devaluation of links placed upon it.

5. Relevance of your link.

If your link holds little or no relevance to the site it is placed on, this is often an indication that your link was placed with intention to build Page Rank. Lack of relevance is a powerful signal.

6. Quality of your neighbouring links.

If your link is grouped with other non-relevant links, or links to low quality sites, this also can be taken as an indication that your link does not belong.

7. Link is located outside of the page’s main content area.

If your link is located in a sidebar, or at the footer of a page, the search engines can detect when your link is not an actual component of the page content. A link outside of the content can indicate that it is not particularly relevant to the actual content of the page.

Now perhaps you can avoid all these little pitfalls, and build and build up a network of back links which do not send up any red flags to the automatic systems of detection, but this does not mean you are free from worry. There is always the chance that human eyes will notice something is out of the norm. Perhaps your competition may notice your paid link placement; they can always report your site via Google’s authenticated paid links reporting form at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport?hl=en&pli=1. Keep in mind that you will need to be logged into a Google account to see the form. This is not common, but does happen from time to time. It’s best to do everything you can in order to make your links look as natural as is possible.

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Encouraging The Viral Spread Of  Link Bait Content

The term “viral marketing” has become quite popular in recent years. Each week there seems to be a new article or video which seems to capture the imagination of the internet world. Something humorous, shocking, or cute catches the attention of those who see it s and they can’t seem to help but show everyone they know by passing it around the net. Internet marketers have of course taken note of this phenomenon.

You can apply this concept to your own projects and take the notion of link bait distribution a step further than just writing inspiring content. Take for instance a funny video clip. When someone sees the video and thinks their friends might like to see, they may forward it in an email, instant message the link, or post it to their friend’s Facebook wall. In doing so, some whom they passed it on to in turn may do the same with their friends. As the video is passed on to more and more people, the likelihood of it passing by a blogger or social bookmarker that will drop a worthy link to you is accelerated substantially.

Now providing you have made the content easily identified as your own, and that the people viewing it can easily identify the source of the video (presumably your company or affiliate website) there is a good chance people will view your site to see what else may be there. In doing so there is a chance they may actually link to the content they found on your site which they liked, providing you with fresh links, or at least passing your site along socially resulting in more traffic. You can’t complain about that either.

Be aware however that becoming over reliant on properties which are not your own can result in the links you’ve worked for pointing in the wrong direction. For example let’s say that you were to post your video on YouTube or Daily Motion. Odds are that the majority of your viewers will link to that video page and not your own.

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It really isn’t all that hard to develop content which your readers will want to link to, but it does take a little effort on your part to brainstorm and come up with new ideas that will work in your favour.

Let your mind roam free, and write down anything that comes to mind that may work. Do not bother censoring yourself during this phase of the process. Don’t worry as you won’t be using everything you write down. What seems like a stupid idea may in fact, in time lead you to a perfect idea. No matter how strange, far off, or simple the ideas may seem, write them down!

After spending some time putting together a large collection of notes, and having completely tapped your flow of creative juices, filter through the ideas. Break everything down into its own content and concept components. Consider what the delivery format of the idea will be for the link bait. This is your concept component. Is it going to be a blog post, a newsletter mailing, widget, top ten lists or even a video?  Then review the subject matter. This is your content component. What are you going to write about? Separate all these details into two lists.

Now move forward with your content list and evaluate the subjects critically. Are any of the ideas time sensitive? Can they wait for a relevant news story to come around which would compliment them? Do you have ideas in the list which you really want to write about immediately? Is there anything in the list which is not of immediate importance, yet can be saved for a dry spell where fresh content and ideas may be hard to come by?

Once your content and subject matter have been prioritized you can begin a virtual jigsaw puzzle of mixing and matching your ideas against your concept list. Is your content something which will potentially make it on to social bookmarking or tagging sites? Take the time to study bookmarking and tagging sites and make notes of what type of content is successful. Does your content have the potential to be interactive? Maybe a poll or other interactive concept can be brought into play.

By attaching your priority content to the right concept, you can accelerate the effectiveness of your link bait by playing to the novelty of your intended audience. By sticking to this process, you will find that matching content and concept to one another may become second nature, and that you can create link bait quickly from any little idea that you have.

Don’t be afraid of failure. If at first you don’t succeed then try and try again!

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The term “Link Bait” is used by many to refer to the idea that you are creating content with the specific purpose of said content going viral on the net. The content is being created with the intention that it will go viral, and people who view the content will be persuaded to spread it around by simply linking to it on their own web sites or perhaps even on social networks. The content you are creating for your web site, or perhaps for use on other online properties, must be interesting or considered valuable enough by the readers that they will want to link to it. Creating such content in hopes of attracting naturally occurring back links can be done in a variety of different ways, and your link bait can develop in many forms.

One way of achieving this is by providing a content base that is informative on the topic of discussion, with enough added value to the community for it to be referenced by others writing about it. This requires some real research to be put forth in the creation process of your content. The reader or in the case of video content, the viewer must learn something from what you are presenting to them, and it must be brought forth in a fashion that portrays you as a knowledgeable authority on the subject.

Some other methods of link baiting rely upon your exploitation of human emotion. You need to pull the reader’s strings so to speak to create an emotional reaction. This can be done by posting content which is controversial, funny, touching, cute, or which draws on any other natural emotions. Depending on what market space you are working within, there are any number of hot button topics which can be addressed. An opinionated article addressing one of these topics can incite discussion regarding your opinion on other sites, often with a link to your original writing as a result.

Link Bait Examples

In the UK perhaps one of the most well known examples of link bait is http://www.comparethemeerkat.com/. Compare The Market cleverly used Compare The Meerkat website to generate links and traffic for their insurance affiliate site. Many of their primetime TV commercials simply promoted Compare The Meerkat.

Smashing Magazine simply used reviews on top free WordPress Themes to generate links and traffic. Check the backlinks of the actual page to see how successful this was.

Matt Cutts even proves how effective link bait can be with his “how to report paid links” article.

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Many gambling affiliates make the mistake of targeting key phrases they simply don’t have a chance of ranking highly. You don’t need to rank for key phrases such as online poker or even online casino to make money. In a previous article, search volume explained,  I discussed how to ascertain how much traffic specific  key phrases will generate. Many affiliates overestimate the potential traffic of specific key phrases, ending up wasting time and money to rank highly with just a trickle of daily traffic.

For new affiliates, trying to rank for key phrases such as poker bonus and casino bonus is simply far too difficult a task. You can make things much easier for yourself by targeting some on the smaller poker and casino sites. For example let’s imagine there is an operator called Big Joe that offers online poker and online casino games. We could simply target long tail key phrases such as Big Joe Poker Bonus, Big Joe Poker Rakeback, Big Joe Rakeback, Big Joe Casino Bonus etc.  Simply make things easier for yourself. Remember though that some key phrases convert much better than others. The key phrase Big Joe Freeroll may well attract decent traffic and sign ups, but the fact is the signups will be much harder to convert into real money players.

Before starting out to target any key phrase take the time to examine the links of the actual sites that rank top three for the specific key phrases you intend to target. There are many free tools available to help you.

Start by finding the number of backlinks each of the top three sites actually has with backlink checking tools.  You can also check backlinks using Majestic SEO although this tool will also show many low value and site wide links which have little value. Perhaps a better option is to use the SEOMoz Linkscape tool. I’m a firm advocate of measuring link value by page and domain analysis.

Just following  the basic advice in this article will ensure that once you decide which key phrases you are going to target, you will know how many links you require, the quality of the links you require and even the time frame required to build the links.

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Many have asked me about the UK online  bingo market so I thought I would take a few minutes to discuss the leading UK operators. Let me start by saying that the UK bingo market is the most developed in the world by far.

Every town and city in the UK has at least one bingo hall. Remember in the UK gambling is legal. If you walk round any UK city centre you will find several gambling establishments such as betting shops, bingo halls and even casinos. Add to this that most newsagents sell UK National Lottery tickets and scratch cards and even football pools. Gambling is built in to the culture of the UK.

Getting back specifically to bingo there are two major chains that run bingo halls which are Mecca and Gala. You will find Mecca and Gala bingo halls in every city in the UK. Mecca is owned by Rank who also own the G-Casino chain whilst Gala Coral Group owns the chain of Gala bingo halls plus casinos and betting shops. Mecca and Coral are household names in the UK plus trusted brands.

Both Mecca & Gala have done a great job building up their online bingo business. Remember though this has been easy for them as they started with a database of millions of players from their bingo halls. Foxy Bingo is another major player in the online bingo world and it came as no surprise that Party Gaming purchases Foxy last year. Over the last couple of years Foxy Bingo have been flooding UK prime time TV with adverts that  feature a bloody stupid irritating fox that for some reason seems to have hit a sweet spot with the UK public. In the UK, Foxy Bingo is far more popular than Party Bingo.

The major player in the UK online bingo market though is none of the above. Jackpotjoy have done a sterling job in online marketing and almost silently become the most popular online bingo site. To increase their exposure even further, last month Jackpotjoy launched a major multi million pound UK TV campaign featuring Barbara Windsor who is one of the most popular UK actresses.

Other major players in the UK online bingo world are Wink Bingo, 888 Ladies, which of course is part of 888.com, Ladbrokes Bingo, Bet365 Bingo and William Hill Bingo. There are many more other established and trusted online bingo companies in the UK all fighting for new customers.

For the last few years all UK advertising media has been swamped by bingo promotions, severely so in the last couple of years. There is simply no escape from online bingo TV ads on UK commercial TV, which of course is great for online bingo affiliates as these ads drive potential sign ups online looking for the offers they have seen on TV.

Perhaps surprisingly many of the top US gambling affiliates have steered clear of promoting online bingo, although perhaps this is because they simply don’t understand the culture of online bingo in the UK. The online bingo sites that accept US players simply don’t have a chance of establishing themselves in the UK as they would have to spend millions on brand awareness. Compared to the likes of Jackpotjoy, Foxy Bingo and most of the UK online bingo brands the sites accepting US players are simply 3rd rate.

If you take the time to visit Youtube to check out the TV ads from the leading UK online bingo brands you will find that most push a “free bingo” promotion. This varies from site to site but most free offers require a deposit. Key phrases such as free bingo convert extremely well for potential UK online bingo players.

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I strongly believe that anybody can become a successful gambling affiliate.  If this is true then why do so many fail? Well the simple truth is that most can’t dedicate themselves. They get distracted and fall in to “I will do it tomorrow “mode. As I have said many times before, tomorrow never comes!

Before even contemplating starting out as a gambling affiliate, work out how much time you can devote. Will you be able to drag yourself away from the TV set? If you have a full time job and are starting out as a part time affiliate, will you really want to start working on your site after a hard day’s work? Will you really be able to motivate yourself day in day out?

Many affiliates do struggle to stay motivated, especially during the period when they are trying to establish their sites. Once the money starts rolling in then of course it is much easier to stay motivated. Many affiliates will tell you though that they waste many days each week. They will have short bursts of great production, then waste days on end. Working for yourself may sound like a great idea, but the simple truth is that many are unable to apply themselves without someone to push them.

Find A Routine That’s Right for You

There is no magic routine that works for everybody.  In my case, for 20 years I worked for myself in the computer industry. I built computers for local businesses and home users plus offered a variety of computer related services. I would work 6 days a week, getting to my office at around 9am. During 9am to 5pm I would be either building computer or visiting local businesses.  After 5pm, for at least a couple of hours I would book appointments with home users. As you can imagine after 20 years I got bloody sick of this routine. I knew when I sold my computer business that whatever I moved into then I would not be happy with a set routine.

I know many affiliates like to set themselves an office type routine. They will in effect set themselves a working day and stick to it religiously. There is of course nothing wrong with this if it works for you. I prefer to work in different manner. I have a list of tasks that have to be completed by the end of the week.  For example, for this site I like to post at least one new article everyday or at least most days. Of course for this site I have to write the articles myself.  A week articles will be written during one afternoon then scheduled for publication throughout the next seven days. The actual day I write the articles will vary each week. Typical tasks on my weekly list will include writing, coding, creating article titles for writers, server maintenance, site traffic analysis, site tracking analysis, revenue analysis etc.  To be honest with many sites I have a pretty big spreadsheet of tasks but I keep myself from getting stale by varying the day I carry out each task. If I’m not in the mood for coding on a certain day then I carry out another task.  I don’t have a set time to start work each day or even a set number of hours I should work each day. My golden rule is though that all tasks should be completed by the end of the week.

I will take days off, will also treat myself to an hour or so extra sleep if I feel like it. I will work just a few hours some days. On the flip site some days I will work for up to 18 hours getting up at the crack of dawn to cram in as much during the day as possible. This is simply what works for me!

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I simply can’t stress how UK sports betting has changed over the last five years. I strongly believe that UK punters are the most advanced anywhere in the world. The main reason for this is the increased popularity of betting exchanges such as Betfair.  If we take football for example, and by football I’m referring to the likes of the Premiership (soccer to my American readers) then ten years ago UK punters would only place bets on a home win, an away win or a draw. That was simply the norm. A small percentage may have also have placed bets on the final score such as 3-1 or the first goal scorer but that was about the limit of football betting back in the day. How things have changed!

With the introduction of betting exchanges for the first time ever the average punter could in effect be the bookie. I don’t want to go in to great detail about how betting exchanges work but as a basic guide betting exchanges match those who want to place a bet with those who want to act as a bookie. So in effect you can back or lay. So for example if you want to back Manchester United to beat Chelsea @ 2.0, then the betting exchange simply matches you with someone who is prepared to lay (act as a bookie) @ 2.0. Betting exchanges make their money by charging a small commission on winning bets or lays unlike traditional sports book that make their money when punters lose.

Another important aspect of UK betting is the rise of “in play” betting. At one time you simply placed your bet before the match started and that was that. Nowadays you can now back or lay whilst the match is in progress. This is a topic I could write about for days, if not weeks, but for now I will keep it brief. During the 2006 World Cup I introduced some of the members from one of my poker forums to the World of football trading on betting exchanges. I had a system that I had been using for sometime which had produced a healthy return for 2 years. It was a very basic system but was easy to follow and very low risk.

Over 90% of football matches have at least 1 goal. If you don’t believe me then check the stats from any football season from around the world.  To understand how bet trading works first you must understand that if you back let’s say at 4.0 then at some stage can lay at a lower price, let’s say 2.0 you can guarantee a profit. So let’s say we back £100 @ 11.0 which in UK terms is 10/1. IF successful we will have £1100 (£1000 + £100 stake). If the game we backed has “in play” betting then we also have the option to lay during the game to lock in profit. Let’s say that during the game the lay price does fall to 3.0 (2/1). If we lay £366.67 at 3.00 then we can lock in profit no matter the final result of the game.

Our Bet Wins £100 @ 11.00

Our back bet would return £1100 our lay bet would lose (£366.67 x 2.0 = -£733.34)

The actual profit would be £1100 – our back bet £100 – our losing lay bet £733.34 = £266.66

Our Lay Bet Wins – £366.67 @ 3.0

Remember with our lay bet we are in effect acting as the bookie so we win £366.67. We win the lay bet but lose our £100 back bet.

The actual profit would be £366.67 – our back bet £100 = £266.67

As you can see from the above no matter the final outcome of the game we have locked in a profit. We would have to pay up to 5% commission on our profit.

Now let’s relate this to the football system I used during the 2006 World Cup. Firstly I would only trade on games where the betting was fairly even between the two teams. I would only trade on games where the draw price was 3.0 or lower.

The system worked on the principle that when a goal was scored there was less chance that the game would be drawn so the actual price of the draw would rise. Remember over 90% of football matches has at least 1 goal.

If you want to check this out for yourself then pick any football game where the draw price is 3.0 or less then simply watch the price of the draw during the game on Betfair. Of course make sure the game has in play betting. Simply note what happens to the draw price when there is a goal scored. I will tell you that both the back price and lay price increase.

As you may have already guessed all I did was lay the draw before the game then backed the draw after a goal was scored to lock in a small profit. I would also in some case back a 0-0 score line which in many cases was priced at 9.0 or greater. Backing a 0-0 score line would help me close all trades if the game was still 0-0 with twenty or so minutes left of the game. At this time the 0-0 price would be vastly reduced so I could lay the 0-0 for profit and back the draw for a loss to close all trades on the game making a small loss. Again remember that over 90% of games have at least 1 goal. Any game where there was a goal scored and not an equalising goal scored within a minute returned a profit.

Since 2006 many have caught on to this way of trading on football games so there is now less movement in the draw price when a goal is scored. There is though still profit to be made using this basic system if you don’t get greedy as you must take profit as soon as it is available.

When I do trade now I stick to tennis and cricket but I don’t really want to give away the systems I use.

Using Free Bets For Profit

This is a guaranteed risk free way to profit from free bet offers available at all online sports books. I do realise that most online sports books don’t like punters employing this method but the fact is many do. A good friend of mine cleared a nice profit in just over 6 months doing this. I’m not advocating that anybody employ this method I’m just letting affiliates know that this does happen frequently.

There must be hundreds of online bookmakers that offer some form of initial match bonus. The amount on offer varies of course as so do the actual wagering requirements of each offer. Also of note is that some free bets offer the free bet stake back whilst others do not.

All you do is take up a free bet offer then lay it off at a betting exchange such as Betfair. As part of your initial bet at the sports book is free you can guarantee a profit. The key is losing the bet at the online sports book and winning your lay at the betting exchange. Also you should not back at high odds or you risk the chance of having to place many more trades to in effect get your funds in to the betting exchange. Once you have in effect moved the free money in to your betting exchange account you then move on to the next online sports betting site that has a free bet offer.

From experience I will tell you that you don’t clear the full amount of the free bet offer although you can easily clear 80%+. If you want to know more about this then Google “match betting”.

Early Odds Prices

Many make good money from trading when odds are first posted on betting exchanges.  An experience punter will know that most money goes on big games an hour or so before the game begins. Many simply back or lay days before the game is due to be played and trade out during the frantic action just before the game kicks off. This of course means that you lock in profit before the actual game is played. You do though need experience to be able to do this.

UK punters are clued up in regards to placing lay bets. Even national coverage of horse racing on UK Channel 4 regularly features the action of each race on Betfair. It is a fact that UK punters will trade out reducing liability on losing bets. I’m not saying all punters will do this but many now have the knowledge to do so.

I know now of many who will happily and profitably trade on unders /overs during football matches plus will happily lay rather than back. Like I said earlier during the last 5 years things have really changed in the UK.

I could relate to a customer of mine during my computer business days that made a small fortune out of the few seconds TV delay of UK horse racing plus the 5 second delay of Betfair but I will leave that until another time.

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I have a couple of potential new affiliates contact me during the last week basically asking me where they start as they seemed a little overwhelmed. I do realise that starting out in this industry must be a daunting task especially for those with no online marketing or affiliate experience. I will say though that if you are willing to learn, can dedicate yourself plus perhaps most importantly, stay focused, there is no reason why you should not succeed.

I will warn you that once you get started building your knowledge that the temptation to wonder from your original idea will be immense. It is a fact that most new affiliates waste a vast amount of time in their first year as they are looking for instant success. After a year then end up with dozens of half finished thin affiliate sites with perhaps many more registered domain names that seemed like a great buy at the time. If only they have funnelled all their time into just a couple of quality sites they would be in a much better position. Very few affiliates end up creating authority sites with a thousand plus quality pages which is a shame as it is clear that in the long term authority type sites are where the big money will be made.

Many new gambling affiliates start on a part time basis with perhaps only a couple of spare hours free each day. Don’t worry about this! In two hours you can easily write three articles each night which of course over a year equates to over 1000 articles a year. You simply need to remain dedicated and focused. It’s as simple as that!

Getting Started

Firstly you need to find a niche which is right for you. Start by reading Is Your Idea Good Enough taking the time no to rush into deciding on a niche. I would strongly suggest that you include a news section to your site. If you get this section approved by Google News which nowadays is an easy task then you will quickly generate a nice stream of traffic. Take the time to read the following articles.

Monster Traffic With Google News
How To Get A Site Approved By Google News
Google News Site Map Plugin

Buying A Domain Name

If you can acquire an aged domain with aged back links this will no doubt give you at least a little head start. An aged domain though is not essential. Also if you are intending to build a brand then try and purchase the .com .net .org and even the .co.uk. Read the article Purchasing A Domain Name Purchasing A Domain Name. Don’t worry too much about the domain name. If you think you can dedicate yourself to build a brand then go for something catchy that your readers will remember.

Research Affiliate Programs

Take time to research affiliate programs before you decide which ones to promote. Read Researching Affiliate Programs. Seek out gambling affiliate programs that have been around a good few years with good feedback from affiliates who promote them. Use Google to see if you can dig any dirt on potential gambling affiliate programs.

SEO Your Content

Take the time to learn about keyword research. Read this article which covers Article Marketing & Key Word Research. Creating articles targeting long tail key phrases will pay dividends in the long term.

You Can Do It!

Simply following the above, plus of course creating 2 or 3 articles a day will result in a quality site after only 12 months if not before. If you can dedicate yourself and stay focused then you can do it!

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I just want to take the time to thank each and every one of the readers of this site for your superb support. I’m staggered at the amount of traffic the Gambling Cash Cow is generating. It is of course early days for this site as we have a long way to go.

We have had a slight problem securing this month interview as the account manager is heavily involved in a major advertising campaign. However he has promised that he will find the time in the very near future. Some people are worth waiting for!

I’m also going to rearrange the home page during the next week or so. I’m adding a new section which will act as a diary for a new affiliate. In the section you will be able to follow the progress of a new affiliate hopefully on his way to establishing himself in gambling affiliate industry.

I also plan to change some of the other sections as the site is getting cluttered. I also plan to  create a new section dedicated to creating content that sells.

Thanks for your support!

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Due to several questions in reference to my initial Valuing Affiliate Sites article I thought I better write a quick follow up. First I must say that the initial article was not based on any “real” site. It was simply an article to help those who lacked the knowledge and experience to determine an affiliate site’s value.

Affiliate Accounts

As stated in the first article all affiliate accounts are not equal. Read any gambling affiliate forum and you are bound to find horror stories of unpaid affiliates, operators going bust and of course the classic changing of revenue share and CPA rates. In general it is the operators who accept US players that cause most of the headaches for affiliates. I play it safe and only promote established UK operators that have cast iron reputations. I also only work with revenue share deals, as I know that in the long run, with trusted operators, revenue share will make me far more money that CPA. I have players who are still earning for me over five years after I signed them up.

Those who promote operators that accept US players, in general, are more likely to seek a CPA deal. I value affiliate accounts with earnings from CPA alone less than affiliate accounts earning with revenue share. I also value affiliate accounts from UK gambling operators who don’t accept US players, far more highly than those operators from around the world who do accept US players. For an affiliate site generating revenue from only US players from CPA alone, the maximum I would ever pay in the current climate is 12 x monthly revenue. This though is at the very top end of my actual purchase price. In the current climate I would realistically pay 6 to 8 x monthly revenue.  Being completely honest in the present climate I would not be interested in buying such affiliate accounts. Of course those who are brave enough to take the risk could make a great profit. Like I said though, I like to play it safe.

Remember many are fighting hard to secure legalised and regulated online gambling in the US. Even the likes of Harrah’s are funding lobbyist to aid the fight. I strongly believe that we will see the US return to the online gambling world within the next year. There has already been an amendment to the proposed bill stating that no operator that has been accepting US players will be considered for a US licence. There is no doubt than when the US bill is eventually passed there are going to be some drastic changes in regards to major sites player volume.

On the flip side it is highly possible that when the US does legalise online gambling many affiliate sites with good general US gambling rankings could greatly prosper. Their existing affiliate accounts may be severely hit, but in the long term it is common sense to expect new US operators to immerge. Just imagine the money that could be made promoting new giant US operators for which very few gamblers have existing accounts. At the end of the day though we are just guessing what is going to happen when or indeed if the US return to the online gambling world.

Many affiliates are well aware of the current situation, so perhaps it is no surprise that the market is full of US based gambling sites for sales. In regards to US gambling affiliate sites there is no doubt at the moment it is a buyer’s market.

Again as stated in my previous article you need to have a good look at the history of the affiliate accounts. Are sign ups increasing each month? How many active players are there each month?  Are the number of active players increasing each month?

Remember that if you have purchased a site with affiliate accounts generating income from revenue share and the site loses its rankings, then you will still receive revenue from the active players. The same can’t be said if the site is only generating revenue from CPA as the revenue will dry up overnight. This is of course why I value affiliate accounts generating revenue with rev share more highly.

Another factor you should take into consideration when buying an affiliate site with revenue share income is the actual number of active players on the site. I can relate to a friend of mine buying a site with one affiliate account that was generating just over $$2,000 a month. The affiliate account had around 20 players although 90% of the revenue came from one player. Six week after buying the site the big raker stopped playing at the site, resulting in the monthly revenue falling to just over $200 a month. The big raker never returned!

Advertising Income

Advertising income, perhaps in the form of banners or even link sales can generate a healthy revenue stream especially for gambling sites. For some gambling affiliate sites, advertising income can be the sole form of income. Many affiliates seem to get “link selling fever” when their site first picks up healthy page rank after a Google Page Rank Toolbar Export. In the matter of weeks their website changes from having just a couple of quality outgoing links, to having, in some cases dozens of outgoing links to low quality sites. Over the years I have seen many affiliates kill their sites by simply selling far too many links.

All sites that sell links run the risk of losing their Page Rank. Google states in its TOS that webmasters should not sell links. It should also be noted that some sites have also lost rankings due to link selling activities. In the past I have purchased sites that were generating income from revenue share plus links sales but added no extra value to the actual links sales. I treat the link sales as a hindrance to the site and try to negotiate to get as many as possible removed prior to buying the site. To be honest in my opinion buying a site that only generates income from link sales is a poor investment and high risk although I know many will disagree. It is though easy enough to build a site, get it approved by Google News, then link build to push up the site’s page rank so it can in effect generate revenue from link sales.

A PR4 gambling site generating a few thousand a month from link sales alone, in my opinion is not a great investment. It only takes one person to report the site to Google for the site to potential lose its Page Rank. Once such a site loses its Page Rank the advertising revenue will dry up.

Site Design

Another factor that should be considered in valuing an affiliate site is the actual design of the site. If the site has some form of custom design that of course this adds value to the site. I understand the value of building brand type sites as this is one of the main online marketing techniques I have employed with great success. How to value the actual design of a site is to say the least subjective. For a basic guide you could simply contact a few designers and ask them to quote you to design a similar site as the one you are valuing.


You should now start to realise that valuing affiliate sites is not such a simply task as at first you may have thought. There are many more factors that can influence a sites value which I guess will feature in further articles in the near future. If you asked several experienced gambling affiliates to value a site then I’m sure you would get several different valuations with a few in the same ball park. In reality the real figure is somewhere between what the seller wants for his site and what the buyer is willing to pay.

The real value though of course is buying affiliate sites perhaps with limited earnings with great potential!

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One of the best books I have ever read in regards to writing content that sells is “How To Write Good Advertisements (A Short Course In Copy Writing)” by Victor Schwab. The book may well be many years old, but the advice it contains is just as good as it was when the book was first published way back in 1962.

Remember all affiliates are marketers so we must generate content that sells. Many affiliates give little thought to how they structure the content they write, in reality writing content for themselves rather than writing content that sells. I’m going to just cover the basics in this article but will dedicate next week to covering each of the “golden rules” in greater detail with real examples of how good affiliates utilise the methods online.

The five golden rules to writing good advertising copy are:

  • Get Attention
  • Show Readers An Advantage
  • Prove The Advantage
  • Entice Readers To Grasp The Advantage
  • Ask For Action

Of course things are a little different in the online world but the five golden rules still hold firm.

Get Attention

If any article is going to generate any sales then of course it needs readers. The more readers, then the more sales the article should generate. As online marketers, attacking search engine queries, first we have to make sure our article title will be visible in Google. We of course can make sure of this by using good long tale search phrases in our article titles. Doing so will give our article at least some traffic.

Many affiliates give little thought to article meta descriptions which is a big mistake. We can use meta descriptions to get attention and so increase our click through rate from the search engines. Experiment with your page meta descriptions. Pack a punch in meta descriptions to entice search engine readers to click your listing in SERPs rather than others. From experience I can tell you that a good targeted meta description can vastly increase your click through rate.

Remember create article titles and meta descriptions that get attention!

Show Readers An Advantage

Now let’s move on to the actual content of your article. Firstly you have to understand what the readers of your actual article want. For example if your article is targeting new poker players then your readers may be looking for:

A Good Sign Up Bonus


Easy Competition

High Volume At Cash Table

Quick Filling SNG Tables

Client Interface That Enable Mass Multi Tabling

The list of course could vastly be increased although you must realise that you have to hit the right buttons in regards to what your reader is looking for. If you fulfil the requirements of what your reader is looking for then of course you have more chance of a sale.

Prove The Advantage

If you take the time to read product review sites online, you will find that a very high percentage give every product they review a glowing reference. This is of course down to the fact that most reviews have an affiliate link as the writer is hoping to sell the reviewed product to the reader. Take a look at a dozen or so poker affiliate sites and make a note of how most give every poker room they promote a great review. The simple fact is that people are not daft! This is the reason that giving your readers an advantage must be followed up with proving the advantage.

For example if you are stating that a poker room is the best for mass multi tabling (giving an advantage) you could prove this by including a screenshot in your review of someone mass multi tabling. You could even take this further by including a video of a poker player in action playing 20+ tables to prove the advantage. I can guarantee this would increase conversions!

Entice Readers To Grasp The Advantage

I would say that this is an area where a lot of affiliates fail. If you have structured your article in the correct manner then you will have gained interest with your article title and meta description (get attention).  You will have held your readers interest by showing them the benefits of the product you are promoting (show readers an advantage). You will have even proved the advantages of the product you are promoting (prove the advantage). Now you need to make your readers grasp the advantage.

Basically you now should motivate your reader by pushing the benefits of the product you are promoting. For example tell your readers how they will benefit from signing up to the poker room. Tell them how easy it is to sign up to the poker room plus of course the rewards they can gain by signing up now.

This should be the “clincher” of your article. The push to convert your reader to a real money player. This is most cases will just be a couple of concise sentences that hammers home the previous content. It should simply gather all the previous claims and proof to close the sale. It should reiterate, remind the readers plus of course sum up the main facts.

Ask For Action

So now you are at the final hurdle. You have done a great job with your article, convincing the reader that the product is exactly what they need. Asking for action is simply a call to action such as “sign up to Pokerstars. Simply think about what you want your readers to do once they have read your article. You could simply use a basic link to the sales page with an anchor such as “sign up to Pokerstars now” a button, or even perhaps a screenshot of the sign up page with full instructions of how to sign up and the bonus code to use.

Simply think about what you want your user to do and give them an easy way to do it!

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Support Michael Jackness (Protos Marketing) in his fight against Danel Moravec.

The post below was posted at Poker Affiliate Lsitings

My name is Michael Jackness and I’m one of the owners of Protos Marketing, known by many of you as PokerSourceOnline, PSO or PokerSource. As you may or may not know, our company owns a number of affiliate websites including a number of small-medium sites and a few large ones. The reason I’m making this post is that our company is currently being sued by Daniel Moravec/Best Odds Corp. (owner of MacPokerOnline.com) over our ownership and use of the domains MacPoker.com and MacPoker.net. The lawsuit is raising some issues that I believe will be of great interest to many of you in this community.

First, I would like to lay out some background about the case. To avoid the possibility of further litigation, I’ve gone to great length to ensure that everything I post here is entirely factual and not liable or slander in any way.

Dan is suing us for infringing upon his claimed trademark “MAC POKER” and he and his lawyers are demanding that we hand over the aforementioned domains and also pay damages. Dan filed for trademark registration with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The USPTO has approved the application subject to the limitation that he would not have rights in the word “POKER” separate and apart from the entire mark. The mark has been published for opposition. We’ve asked for an extension on this trademark application and have 30 days (until Sept. 25) to file our opposition. This is where I’m hoping to get support from this community, and I’ll explain that at the bottom of this post.

Dan filed his lawsuit earlier this year. As a part of the lawsuit, he also asked for a preliminary injunction to shut down our two websites mentioned above. We were forced to go to court to fight this preliminary injunction. The judge denied the preliminary injunction without prejudice, allowing him to renew his request after the trademark application process is completed. Unfortunately, the case is still pending and we are forced to continue defending ourselves.

Our company is in a precarious position because while we prefer not to spend any more money on this lawsuit (legal fees already exceed $50,000), we really have no choice because it compromises our entire company’s position in the industry. It will also affect others who use the term “mac poker” to refer to the game of poker played on the Internet using a Mac (Apple Macintosh) computer. If Dan gets a federal trademark registration for “MAC POKER”, he will likely pursue others in the industry who are using the term “mac poker”. We believe it would be very detrimental for our company and the online poker industry if Dan establishes this sort of precedent. At the very least, anyone else who competes for the term “mac poker” or lists it anywhere on their site would be in danger.

I am asking the Poker Affiliate Listings community to help us oppose the trademark application and lawsuit mentioned above. If you optimize or promote anything related to “mac poker,” we believe this should be of great concern to you. Even if you don’t compete for those terms, this may still be a precedent that you, like we, would like to avoid setting. We are looking for people who believe and are willing to sign affidavits saying that “Mac Poker” is a generic term that refers to playing the game of poker online using a Mac (Apple Macintosh) computer and that it does not stand for or refer to any one particular company, organization or person.

Please feel free to post here or contact me privately if you’re willing to help with this case, as well as if you have any advice or comments. I’m looking forward to hearing others’ thoughts on the situation.

Best Regards,

Michael Jackness

Visit the PAL thread for more details.

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I would say that if you follow the information detailed in my “How to Get a Site Approved By Google News” then you will have no problem with your site being approved. I have though received many questions in regards to the required content, so I thought it best to go in to more detail.

What Type Of Content Should You Write?

Google has issued strict guidelines on the type of content they will accept in Google News. Again I will quote from Google:

Have news content reporting on recent events – please note that we don’t include informational and how-to articles, classified ads, job postings, fictitious content, event announcements, advice columns or adult content;

So there you have it! If you are going to produce articles which detail up and coming poker events or even sporting events you are going to have problems with Google News approval.  Be careful of simply copying the type of articles that current Google News sites are producing as most of these sites bend the rules as soon as they are approved.

Good Google News content would be reports on poker, sporting and gambling events.  For example if you are writing about UK sporting events you could write about player injuries or possible player transfer target at popular football clubs.  Simply look at the content sites such as BBC Sport is producing.

How Many Words Should My Google News Articles Contain?

You don’t need to write thousands of words for each Google News article. To be honest I have had sites approved by Google News where most of the articles were around 300 words.

Google New Content Must Be Unique!

Every article you write simply must be unique! Don’t try and take shortcuts or you will be simply wasting your time! Of course it is fine to rewrite articles if you make a decent job of it. Don’t produce crappy spun articles.

Will A New Site Using a Brand New Domain Be Accepted By Google New?

Yes! Even new sites using new domains will be accepted by Google News IF the content of the site is good enough.

WordPress Theme Choice

Make sure your site actually looks like a news type site. There are hundred are magazine and news type themes available so simply take the time to choose a decent one.

Adding Google News Content To An Existing Site

If you are thinking about adding Google News content to an existing affiliate site then you may be better off using a sub directory. It is much easier to get a site approved by Google News without affiliate banners and links. Once approved, you can simply add banners and links to your Google News approved site.

Is It Really So Easy To Gain Google News Approval?

Yes it certainly is! As a matter of fact since my last Google News article mention at the top of this post I have had one of my main poker sites approved plus created another site from scratch using a brand new domain which has just been approved.

A dedicated affiliate can get a new site set up plus create the required content in just a few days! That is a fact!

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I have not had a good rant for a while so here goes! All operators are not equal. They vary  a great deal in regards to support, how they convert, player trust, affiliate trust and of course they all have different long term prospects. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that we are going to see great changes in the online gambling world within the next year. I’m sure that many reading this article are currently promoting sites that are going to be well and truly screwed once the US returns to the online gambling world.

As an affiliate you simply have to keep an eye on possible future developments. Operators that have continued to accept US players, but in real terms have had limited growth, obviously are going to have a tough time when they are not granted a licence from the US.  If they can’t prosper whilst they have reduced competition, then they simply will not have a cat in hells chance when the Euro sites return.

It’s comes as no surprise that Sporting Bet have recently agreed to pay the US Government $33 million for the period when they “illegally” accepted US players.  How much would Pokerstars and Full Tilt have to pay? Affiliates who are in denial that things are not going to change are in for a shock! Party Gaming, Betfair plus other Euro operators have already set up offices in the states. It seems clear to me that in the near future we are going to see new giant US operators rule the roost, perhaps even using Euro gaming software.

Smart affiliates are already looking to the year ahead, are you?

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If you are inexperienced in regards to the affiliate industry, especially the gambling affiliate industry, a good option is perhaps to purchase a couple of decent sites to get your network up and running. Before even thinking about getting your cheque book out, take the time to educate yourself.

Over the years, time and time again, I have witnessed many times, inexperienced investors paying way over the odds for so called established affiliate websites. A good analogy would be someone swimming out into shark infested waters, and then emptying buckets full of blood and guts around them. This scenario I would compare to an inexperience investor posting on an affiliate site that he had a big budget for quality sites. Sorry, but the honest truth is that if you don’t have the experience and knowledge then you simply are going to be ripped apart!

I will be honest and say that in general you will pay more for sites, links and even content if you buy from established affiliate forums and sites. There are many quality webmasters who make a good living from flipping affiliate websites. I’m not saying you can’t buy great sites from  affiliate’s forum and sites at the right price but I’m saying if you don’t have the required knowledge, you are odds on to over pay. Sorry but that is a fact!

Your best approach would be to do a little research and look for sites with potential, then simply contact the sites owners. Remember most affiliates fail as they simply don’t acquire the skills to convert traffic to real money players. Many new affiliates will spend a good few months building up a half decent site only to lose interest when the money does not come rolling in after a few months. Also many affiliates simply do not optimise their sites for conversions. An unoptimised site earning let’s say £500 per month can easily be optimised with just a few hours work to double monthly income. Also there are many neglected affiliates sites ranking  perhaps on page two  or three for their main key phrases which could easily be pushed to a much higher ranking with a little work.

Affiliate Account Scams

A site may appear to generate a decent number of new accounts each month and generate healthy monthly revenue, remember though most webmasters have a network of sites. It is very difficult to tell where the sign ups are actually coming from. I have lost count of the number of times I have been offered a site for sale with an affiliate account that obviously was being fed by multiple sites.

An honest seller will give you decent access to the sites affiliate accounts although there are still many ways in which a scammer can hide the fact that the account is being fed form other sites. I for one would not have a problem putting a potential buyer in contact with my operator account manager. If you are paying good money for an affiliate site then get proof of where the sign ups are coming from.

Also remember all affiliate accounts are not equal! There is a big difference between affiliate accounts at Ladbrokes and Party Partners compared to affiliates at smaller networks that accept players from the US. The online gambling world is going through major changes with perhaps the biggest possible change being the return of Americans to the online gambling world within perhaps the next year. Many of the sites that have been accepting US players could be facing dark times ahead and so in my opinion are not a long term safe bet.

An affiliate account that is not being fed with new sign ups each month will of course “drain” to some extent during a twelve month period. The amount of “drain” depends on many factors such as the type of gambling account, such as casino, bingo, poker etc, plus the quality of the customer retention promotions offered by the operator, which I can tell you vary a great deal. Even some of the major UK operators do a poor job in customer retention whilst others are some of the best in the world. From experience I can tell you that I have had purchased affiliate accounts drain to less than 20% over a year.


A site may be ranking highly for multiple key phrases from either the website owners own network or even from paid links.  I have seen buyers scammed as the seller simply removed the links as soon as he has sold the site. Before buying any sites you need to ask the seller about back links. In most cases he will have links on other sites in his network so you need a clause in the purchase contract that the links will stay for a predetermined time. I would suggest at least a year if you are paying a decent amount for the site as this will give you time to replace the existing backlinks.

Some gambling webmasters spend thousands of dollars a month on purchasing back links on quality sites. You need to understand how to check backlinks plus of course find out how long the existing backlinks will remain.

Another scam is that the seller will 301 (redirect) a site with good backlinks to the site he is selling to make the site to appear to have a great backlink profile. Of course as soon as he has sold the site the seller removes the 301 redirect so the backlinks disappear and rankings drop.

The online gambling niche is one of the most competitive and profitable niches. Some back links on sites sell for thousands of dollars. Simply removing 3 or 4 high quality backlinks from a site can in effect drop the key phrases several places in the search engine rankings.


There are different types of traffic that convert at different rates. If you are just looking at a sites traffic stats then this is a big mistake as you MUST determine what sort of traffic the site is actually generating.  A good way to get cheap traffic is to get a site approved by Google News. Doing so enables you to hit the first page of Google for news stories. If you have a writer who knows how to attack Google news then you can generate hundreds of uniques a day with just a couple of daily articles. You can generate targeted traffic with Google News, although most do not. You can even buy a Google News approved site for less than $1000 on some affiliate forums. It is easy to “pump up” traffic for a site using general news stories which in real terms have little value as the traffic is very difficult to convert.

Targeted Traffic

A good affiliate site will be ranking highly for quality key phrases that convert. For example, if a site is ranking highly for the search phrase “poker bonus” or “bingo bonus” then this is the type of  targeted traffic you are looking for.

Before buying any site find out what sort of traffic the site is generating. Find out what are the main key phrases the site is targeting.

Also look for what key phrases the site is “nearly” ranking well for. If the site is ranking bottom of page one of the Google search results for let’s say “bingo bonus” or even page two or three then you know that with a bit of work you can push it top 5 perhaps to boost revenue.

You do though need to understand how to calculate page and domain metrics plus of course how to analyse back links profiles. There is no point trying to push a key phrase to top 5 in Google if the sites that hold the top 5 position have strong back link profiles. Every day I’m amazed at affiliates pushing for key phrases they don’t have a chance of ranking top 5.

Domain Names

Many gambling domain names, in my opinion are in general overpriced and don’t offer a decent ROI, perhaps more so now that Google Instant is live.  Many affiliates go crazy for exact match domains paying a small fortune for which in many cases they will never recoup. There are of course some exact match domains that are great value, but again you need experience to spot these. Google is changing giving more ranking power to big brand type sites. It is a fact that sites built as a brand, with thousands of quality content pages,  can rank for many decent key phrases without many back links using just the power of internal links. I would rather build a big content site on a catchy 2  word new $10 domain than spend a small fortune on a domain such as bingobonus.com. In my book, big brand type sites with hundreds if not thousands of pages are a better long term bet than thin affiliate type sites using exact match domains. There are though are always exceptions.

How To Value Sites

As a general rule, quality sites sell based on 10 to 24 x monthly revenue. This though depends on many factors such as:

The content of the site (quality and quantity)

The type of traffic the site generates

What key phrases the site ranks

What key phrases the site “nearly” ranks

The quality of the sites backlinks

The history of the affiliate account (rising or falling)

The type of the affiliate accounts

The quality of the affiliate accounts

There are of course sites worth less than 10 x monthly revenue, plus of course sites worth more than 24 x monthly revenue if they have great potential. This article has only really covered the very basics as an in-depth article would require dozens of pages.

For inexperienced buyers I would strongly suggest you take a step back, taking the time to research more about affiliate sites. Analyst predict strong growth in the online gambling sector for a good few years so waiting a few weeks until you have gained more knowledge is not going to hurt.

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Google News Site Map Plugin Advice

I have had many questions regarding my recent Google News articles so I thought I would wrap up several question in a couple of more articles about Google News. Many seem confused about Google Site Maps so I will deal with topic first.

Google is very strict on the type of news content they will accept from sites seeking Google News approval. Many affiliates are creating content that will be rejected by Google News. If Google news deems that your content is not suitable then you will get an email from Google that includes the following.

Please note that Google News only includes articles that provide timely

reporting on recent events. This means we don’t include informational and

how-to articles, classified ads, job postings, fictitious content, event

announcements or advice columns. When we reviewed your site, we found that

it lists other types of content alongside your original news articles.

There is no need to panic as the email will also state:

Create a News Sitemap for your news articles only, and let us know that

you’d prefer to have your articles crawled exclusively through your


So all you have to do to comply with Google’s requirements is to create a Google News sites map which excludes all categories that Google News does not actually class as news.

Creating a Google News sitemap is also a good option for those who have existing sites so don’t want to change their URL structure.

A Google Site Map is different to a standard site map. A Google News Sitemap has additional news specific tags compared to a standard site map. It uses the Sitemap protocol as below:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″






<news:name>The Example Times</news:name>




<news:genres>PressRelease, Blog</news:genres>


<news:title>Companies A, B in Merger Talks</news:title>

<news:keywords>business, merger, acquisition, A, B</news:keywords>

<news:stock_tickers>NASDAQ:A, NASDAQ:B</news:stock_tickers>




Tag Required? Description
<publication> Yes The <publication> tag specifies the publication in which the article appears. It has two required child tags: <name> and <language>. The <name> is the name of the news publication. It must exactly match the name as it appears on your articles in news.google.com, omitting any trailing parentheticals. For example, if the name appears in Google News as “The Example Times (subscription)”, you should use the name, “The Example Times”. The <language> is the language of your publication. It should be an ISO 639 Language Code (either 2 or 3 letters). Exception: For Chinese, please use zh-cn for Simplified Chinese or zh-tw for Traditional Chinese.
<access> Yes, if access is not open, else should be omitted Possible values include “Subscription” or “Registration”, describing the accessibility of the article. If the article is accessible to Google News readers without a registration or subscription, this tag should be omitted.
<genres> Yes, if genres apply, else can be omitted A comma-separated list of properties characterizing the content of the article, such as “PressRelease” or “UserGenerated.” See Google News content properties for a list of possible values. Your content must be labeled accurately, in order to provide a consistent experience for our users.
<publication_date> Yes Article publication date in W3C format, using either the “complete date” (YYYY-MM-DD) or “complete date plus hours, minutes and seconds” (YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss) format, with optional fraction and time zone suffixes. Please ensure that you give the original date and time at which the article was published on your site; do not give the time at which the article was added to your Sitemap.

Our crawler would accept any of the formats below:
Complete date
YYYY-MM-DD (eg 1997-07-16)

Complete date plus hours and minutes
YYYY-MM-DDThh:mmTZD (eg 1997-07-16T19:20+01:00)

Complete date plus hours, minutes and seconds
YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ssTZD (eg 1997-07-16T19:20:30+01:00)

Complete date plus hours, minutes, seconds and a decimal fraction of a second
YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss.sTZD (eg 1997-07-16T19:20:30.45+01:00)

<title> No, but strongly recommended The title of the news article. Note: The title may be truncated for space reasons when shown on Google News. Article title tags should only include the title of the article as it appears on your site. Please make sure not to include the author name, the publication name, or publication date, as part of the title tag.
<keywords> No A comma-separated list of keywords describing the topic of the article. Keywords may be drawn from, but are not limited to, the list of existing Google News keywords.
<stock_tickers> No A comma-separated list of up to 5 stock tickers of the companies, mutual funds, or other financial entities that are the main subject of the article. Relevant primarily for business articles. Each ticker must be prefixed by the name of its stock exchange, and must match its entry in Google Finance. For example, “NASDAQ:AMAT” (but not “NASD:AMAT”), or “BOM:500325″ (but not “BOM:RIL”).

Don’t worry if all the above seems a little daunting as you can simply download a WordPress plugin which in effect means you can have your Google News Site Map up and running in a few minutes,

WordPress Google News Site Map Plugin

Simply download the WordPress Google News Site Map Plugin. This plugin installs just like a standard WordPress plugin.

Once the Google News Site Map Plugin is installed and activated, go to settings and tick all the categories you want to exclude.

Move the file “google-news-sitemap.xml” into your blog root directory and CHMOD to 777 so it is writable.

All you have to do now is create a new post plus save the post to generated you site map, You can check your Google News site map by using the following URL:


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After what seems like an age Bing and Yahoo are now at last starting to share their search functions. Over the coming months there will be further integration between the two search engines. This combination has resulted in a reported 25% of search engine market share which is something that affiliates should not ignore. Now is the time to start optimising your sites for Bing!

Google is still the clear market leader and continues to develop the users search experience. The simple fact is though that many webmasters neglect to optimise their pages for Bing, although obviously ranking on Bing can be much easier than Google for competitive key phrases. Let’s take a look at how to effectively SEO for Bing.

SEO For Bing – On-Page SEO

Get the basics right! Ensure you use H tags for titles, alt tags for images, plus of course ensure you use unique page titles, description meta tags and meta key words.

SEO For Bing – Bing Webmaster Tools

Sign up to MS Webmaster Tools then submit a sitemap so Bing knows your site exists. Don’t expect Bing’s Webmaster Tools to as informative as Google’s as it simply isn’t.

SEO For Bing – Canonical Requirements:

There is no doubt that Google is extremely good at determining a website’s Canonical URL even for websites not coded efficiently. Bing does not even support the Canonical tag and offers zero Canonical URL management in their Webmaster Tools. We will discuss this in more detail in a later article.

Google prefers 301 redirects but in all honesty a 302 will in most cases not cause major problems. In the case of Bing, if a website has a 302 Canonical redirect rather than a 301 then Bing will not follow the redirect. So ensure that for Canonical redirects you always use a 301.

SEO For Bing – Page Size:

Bing only caches the first 100k of most web pages with the reported range 95k – 105k. To counter this ensure that important aspects of the page content is place in the initial 95k, otherwise it will not be placed in to the Bing cache.

SEO For Bing – Backlink Requirements:

Google is the king in regards to indexing pages whilst Bing is simply miles behind. Google will happily index pages with poor link authority whilst Bing will not. Build links to pages that are not indexed in Bing. Seek out links on pages that are indexed in Bing as those that are not will not aid you to rank in Bing. In general a page needs at least one external website link to remain in the Bing index.

SEO For Bing – Domain Age

Just like Google, Bing greatly favours aged domains.

SEO For Bing – Back Links Considerations

We all know that to rank highly in Google you simply need quality links with anchor text that matches the key phrase you want to rank. A page with only a few lines of text that is not even optimised for the key phrase will rank in Google if it has enough quality links with the correct anchor text. Bing is completely different. The old school rule of “content is king” is completely true when optimising a page for Bing. A properly SEO page, full of relevant quality content, with quality back links from with many different pages indexed in Bing, with varied anchor text , will rank highly in Bing for multiple key phrase.

Goole is in effect a spammer’s paradise as many affiliates have noticed especially during the last few months. The spammer’s tactics that work so well in Google are less effective in Bing.

SEO For Bing – Build Backlinks On Pages With Relevant Titles & Content

Let’s say you are trying to rank for a phrase such as “pokerstars bonus code”.  To increase rankings for Bing seek out pages that include “pokerstars bonus code” in their title and of course their content. Remember unlike Google, Bing takes less notice of anchor text and more notice of relevant on-page content. There is no doubt that Bing pays a great deal of attention to the topic of the page linking to you.  A boost is given if the linking page title and content relates to a similar topic.

Article marketing using quality article directories such as Ezines and Article Base can be a great aid for boosting your rankings in Bing!

SEO For Bing – Submit Urls

It is possible that many of your quality links that are helping your Google rankings are not even indexed in Bing. Go through all your back links and for any that are not listed in Bing submit them using the Bing submission form.

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As I gambling affiliate I’m aware I have a great job! There is simply nothing better than waking up in the morning, checking my stats, and finding that I’ve made hundreds of pounds whilst I slept. I’m also aware that I’m working in a very competitive niche. If I just relied on generating traffic from Google, then I’m at risk from other gambling affiliates who could attack my rankings, plus of course I could be hit my either an algorithm change or even some kind of Google penalty.

The online world changes at a vast rate. Just think about all the changes we have seen during the last five years. As an affiliate promoting mainly UK sites I can no longer target players from America. Social media sites are now established online and have even drained a portion of search queries away from search engines. Video online is now established with dozens of video sites such as Youtube and Vimeo available to all. Just a few years ago most of my traffic would come from search engines plus sites for which I had purchased advertisements. Now my traffic comes from search engines, videos, Twitter, Facebook, Podcasts plus many other sources.

It’s easy as an affiliate to take the safe approach. Find a method that works, with a site design that converts and stick with it. This is a big mistake! I have noticed that gambling affiliates, perhaps unlike affiliates in other niches, tend to stick with methods that have a proven history of success. Of course I understand this safe approach but in reality they are missing out on other forms of traffic. Take a look at a few dozen general gambling affiliate sites and you will notice how just a few have integrated videos, Twitter or even Facebook. To be honest, if Google make drastic changes to their algorithm, which we all know relies far too heavily on back links and anchor text, many gambling affiliates would be well and truly stuffed!

Don’t be afraid of trying to develop different methods to generate traffic. Simply take the time to understand how your potential signup use the internet. I will tell you that they do visit Youtube, they do have Facebook and Twitter accounts and for sure they don’t rely upon Google as much as they use to.

We all know Google is a great source for generating traffic. Many affiliates don’t even give Bing a second thought even though Bing is stronger than ever before, now that it is sharing search results with Yahoo. The smart gambling affiliates are those who have made the effort to generate traffic from other sources. Have you?

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In the case with most things, search queries can be broken down to more definite categories. Typically the queries can be defined in one of three major sectors based upon the desired result of the user’s search. The categories we’ll focus on are navigational, informational, and transactional searches.

Navigational Queries
A Navigation Query is fairly straight forward; the user knows a specific location where he intends on arriving. These could be searches for a company or brand name. If the user wishes to find the corporate website for your company, odds are that he will search your company’s name with the intention of navigating towards your site. (Ex. John Doe Construction Ltd.)

Informational Queries
These searches are performed with no predetermined destination or source in mind. The user has a question or topic of interest and is in search of information to satisfy their needs. The user’s query reflects this search for specific information with a general topic being ran through the engine. The results of the search may come from any variety of sources and the final destination is not of as much concern to the person performing the search, as the information contained within it. (Ex. poker strategies)

Transactional Queries
When a person types in Surround Sound Speakers there is a pretty good chance that they are in the market to buy them, but it is likely that the intention of this search is to research a future purchase. They likely don’t know exactly what it is they want to buy yet. This particular search is an example of what can be further defined as an Initial Transactional Query, and this session of searching can evolve in stages throughout the user’s research process as a number of separate queries being submitted to the engine. To expand upon this concept, here are some further examples of Transactional Queries which may occur further down the line.

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Unreliable or Slow Server

Generally the search engines want to serve their users results that provide them with the best quality user experience. If your site is frequently found to be experiencing outages or down-time, it is subsequently determined to be providing a less than quality experience to it’s users. If the spiders are frequently experiencing difficulty accessing pages within your site, it will be assumed that it is dealing with a site of lower than expected quality.

Duplicate Content

The engines want to provide a wide variety of content to their users in order to best serve their informational needs. If your pages are largely filled with duplicate content from other websites, or content that is thin on information, this is potentially viewed as a negative ranking signal.

Linking To Low-Quality Sites

Linking out from your own site to low-quality pages, or sites deemed to be spam can result in negative quality scores to your own site as well. In general, linking to one or two poor quality sites isn‘t going to damage your reputation too badly, but a large number outbound links to sites of porr  quality and spam will almost certainly have a negative effect on your own rankings.

Complexities arise when you have linked to perfectly good sites, which later expire and are picked up by competing webmasters with intent on abusing those domain’s existing inbound links for the purpose of spamming the engines. It’s a good idea to occasionally check where your outbound links are going, you might be hurting your rankings, while supporting a spammer, and not even know it.

Selling Links

The search engines want to provide pure quality content, and view the buying and selling of links as a manipulation of the algorithms they have worked hard to develop in an effort to determine quality. They do not want people in the industry manipulating their algorithm as they view this as a dampening in the quality of their results. If it is determined that you are participating in shady linking schemes or the buying & selling of links for the manipulation of search rankings, you may be hit with penalties to your site’s ranking.

Duplicate Titles & Meta Tags On Multiple Pages

Due to the power signal associated with title and meta tags by many SEO practitioners, failure to create unique meta tags and titles for each individual page can be translated by the search engines as a negative ranking signal. In similar fashion, duplicate meta description and meta keyword tags also have the potential to be viewed as negative factors contributing to your overall rank.

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Using Keywords Within Title Tags

Title tags are considered the #1 ranking factor of any page served to the search engines. The words in the title of the page go a long way in describing the content of the displayed page, or at least they should, and thus provide a useful element in the engine’s determination as to the content contained within it. It is a highly visible element of any page, and likely to be used by most webmasters as a descriptive passage regarding the content.

It’s also a widely accepted SEO practice to put your most important keywords early in the title of the page, as search engines are suspected to place the heaviest emphasis on the first words presented in the title tags.

Anchor Text Usage

Anchor text on inbound links is given a lot of weight by the search engines. When another page links in towards your page, the text used for that link has a tendency to say a lot about what the user can find on that page. This is a strong signal for search engines in determining the content contained within. This is given a lot of focus by most link builders in an attempt to drive keyword rich text links towards their sites. Webmasters and publishers tend to use keyword rich text links meaningfully or otherwise, and this is well known by the engines.

Domain Authority

The Global Link Authority metric is used as opposed to the linking authority of single pages with intent on determining the overall authority of the entire site which is providing your inbound link. Pages with strong authority across their entire  site are given more weight and are viewed as having a stronger overall authority. There are a few key methods in determining the global authority of a web site.

View the Page Rank of the site’s home page. Even though it has long been known that the Page Rank algorithm has its flaws, the PR of the main page can be used to develop an overall sense of the site’s global popularity, even though the homepage is not always the strongest ranked page on the site, it will give you a feeling of the entire site’s strength.

The Yahoo! Site Explorer search is another method webmasters have made use of for determining total number of inbound links. Up to 1000 inbound links to a site can be exporting to a spreadsheet and further analyzed by  keen site owners.

Using Linkscape’s domain mozRank is a further option you may wish to explore too.

Domain Age

Some people are at first shocked to learn that this metric is given consideration, but there is no question as to the weight given to it. Spam sites don’t tend to hold a long shelf life, and in the eyes of the search engine’s a site with a long and healthy lifespan, must be doing something right in terms of serving its viewers. Sites built 10 years ago were generally not so spammy, so in the eyes of the engines a site which has survived that long and is still going strong, must be a valuable informational resource.

Internal & External Considerations

Searches engines lay a lot of faith in the publisher’s internal linking structure to show them what they feel are the most important areas of their own sites. If a page is hidden where it can only be found after 4 or 5 clicks from the home page, the search engine is not going to put a lot of weight upon that particular page. Sites that are linked to from the global navigation of the site, and are thus accessible from any point within the internal structure on the other hand, are obviously considered to be strong in terms of interest and popularity. Relevance of the internal links are also an important  factor.

Relevance of Inbound Links

The topical relevance of sites and pages which send inbound links towards your pages is a big factor in SEO. While it is generally accepted than any inbound link is a boost, those that come from strong pages of a related topical interest, are given much more credibility in the eyes of the search engine. They count for much more than an inbound link from a site with no relevance to your subject matter.

Keyword Usage

Another key factor in the on page optimization of web sites for the engines, is the use of your targeted keywords in the body of content being displayed. In addition to having the keywords in your title tags, it is beneficial to make mention of them within the written context of your content.

Don’t worry too much about stuffing your content with keywords however, this can work against you, and the use of synonyms and synonymous phrases can be beneficial too, as the engines often search for these in an effort to legitimize and reinforce the relevance of the page.

Global Link Popularity

By now you should be able to easily picture the strength of this metric in SEO. All trends tend to lead towards the relevancy and strength of your site and those linking towards. Links from strong, trusted websites, are highly beneficial to your own projects. If the site linking to you is trusted as a strong resource in its field, it will likely be represented by its own global link popularity.

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While SEO is largely the focus of what search engine spiders can see on your website, paying attention to those aspects they cannot see is a topic worthy of review.

A primary example is the use of images in web design. A search can tell you have included an image on your page, however they are left with little idea what the image actually represents aside from what you‘ve allowed them to know via the alt attribute. They can detect pixel colors, and in some cases determine pornographic content by determining the levels and percentage of flesh tones contained within an image file. For the most part though, they couldn’t tell you if the picture is that of a dog, cat, horse, pig, or chicken. There has been some experimentation with optical character recognition, or OCR, in terms of detecting and translating text within images, but this technology hasn’t gained too much momentum with the engines as of yet.

Another example comes in the form of Flash content, which for a long time it has been considered that search engines have no access. However, a quick look over this release from Google goes to show that the spiders can indeed extract some information from Flash files embedded within your website.

One of the major problems presented by the use of Flash is that the engines still need to search for text content, of which developers have little reason to leave behind. Flash is primarily a visual component and contains many pictorial aspects within its products.  These pictorial aspects of flash development are subject to the same shortcomings of other image content contained on page.

Audio and video files are also hard for the search engines to read at the moment. The data is difficult to parse, and at the moment there are few exceptions to the rule when it comes to indexing these data types. ID3 tags within MP3 files, and pod casts in AAC format with textual notes, images, and chapter markers enabled allow some insight for the engines. Ultimately without textual markers to back it, the engines cannot tell the content of one video or audio file from the next.

One example of a technology that can present significant human-readable content that the search engines cannot see is AJAX. AJAX is a JavaScript-based method for dynamically rendering and displaying  content on a web page with data having been retrieved from a  database. The data is loaded without the necessity of a page refresh, which makes things very difficult in terms of spidering for the search engine. This is often presented as a form in which the user inputs select data, and the appropriate information is returned to him via the database.

The data is retrieved via a script on the client’s computer, and not actively displayed until an input has been designated by the user. This makes it extraordinarily difficult for rendering by search engines.

Similar problems are present by any JavaScript which doesn’t render data on the page until a user input has been designated.

Since the introduction of HTML 5 the embed tag (<embed>)  has  allowed the incorporation of plug-ins into an HTML page which are located not on the web server, but on the user’s computer. This is often used to embed movies and audio files into web pages .Content embedded into pages via plug-ins such as this are not visible at all to the search engines.

Finally you have the use of iframes and frames, which are an excellent way to add content from other websites into your own. As a result of the originating location of the data, they are treated as what they are in truth though, the content of another website altogether. The data contained with frames are not considered the content of your own page.

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Whenever a new online project is in its initial stages of development, one of the first aspects that need to be given consideration is the naming of the site’s domain. It doesn’t matter if you are launching a blog, a corporate website, or even a simple personal website, choosing the right domain is crucial in creating a successful project. Here are a few  simple tips to follow to help you  make the right choice in choosing a domain name.

Brainstorming Keywords

Think about your new project and the keywords that compliment its core subject matter. Brainstorm for a while and come up with 5 core keywords which best describe the content of your site.  Once you have pieced together a keyword list, begin pairing them together, adding prefixes and suffixes along the way to create good domain name ideas.

Choose A Unique Domain Name

Try to choose a domain that will not be easily confused with pre-existing websites. This is a sure-fire to waste your efforts and lose traffic. Do not choose a domain which pluralizes, hyphenates, or simply misspells an existing domain. Make it stand out.

Choose A .com Domain

This rule isn’t written in stone and can be passed over if you’re not interested in brand name recognition or type-in traffic. However, if you are planning on building a website with long term business in mind, these are aspects of your overall strategy which should be considered. The general population still considers .com’s their go to option.

Make It Easy To Type

Don’t complicate things for the user, try to register a domain that is easy for them to type. If a domain requires extra attention due to strange pronunciation, is overly long, or spelled awkwardly, you’re losing a large amount of your brand ability and market value. Make it easy for users  to find your site.

Make It Easy To Remember

This fits with making the domain unique and making it easy to type, make the domain memorable so that word of mouth marketing is effective. If people can’t find your site, it’s not going to do you any good. Even if you have the

Keep the domain short

The less characters in your domain, the less room for error when it comes time to type it in or remember it at a later time. Shorter domains even have a tendency to command a high click-thru rate in the SERPs. So don’t be the guy with a massive domain that nobody can remember.

Check For Possible Trademark Infringement

Visit  the U.S. Patent and Trademark office site and search to be sure you aren’t infringing upon any registered trademarks before going forward with your project. A domain can easily be pulled due to this, and there would be nothing worse than having had all your efforts go to waste over something easily avoided like a copyright or trademark infringement.

Build  A brand

Developing a brand name is an excellent way to add value to your domain. A brand allows you to stand out from the crowd by creating an identity, as opposed to just using a combination of words. Branding is more than just using matched keywords. Would Facebook been the success it was if had used the domain socialnetworkingsite.com? Probably not.

Non-intuitive domains leave room for error, and choosing a domain is equally about usability as it is function. When someone hears your domain name, they sure be able to immediately tell you what type of content they expect to find on the site. Choose a domain that accurately represents your content.

Avoid Hyphens & Numbers

In general, do not use hyphens or numbers in your choice of domain. They make it hard to convey your name verbally, and leave lots of room for error when it comes time to remember the name or to type it in correctly. Avoid roman numerals or spelled out numbers too as they are easily mixed up and mistaken for one another.

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WordPress has always been prone to spam attacks although it seems that during the last few months things have taken a turn for the worst. Many webmasters are now reporting that even WordPress blogs with comments and trackbacks turned off are finding approved spam comments on their sites. This new spam attack has been reported on all versions of WordPress including version 3.01.

So what can you do to protect your blog from spammers?  Well firstly go to your blog’s backend, go to settings, then discussions and turn of the following options:

Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks.)

Allow people to post comments on new articles

Next login to your host Cpanel and using PHPAdmin run the following SQL commands on your blog’s SQL database

Turn All Trackbacks Off

Update wp_posts set ping_status=”closed”

Turn All Blog Comments Off

UPDATE wp_posts p SET comment_status = ‘closed’, ping_status = ‘closed’ WHERE comment_status = ‘open’;

Many are recommending install the Bad Behaviour Plug-in although I’m still testing the plug-in so use it at your own risk.

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I honestly believe that making a good living as a gambling affiliate is not such a difficult task. Of course it takes time to build a steady revenue stream but it is not rocket science. There are many super affiliates who will admit they don’t have great IT skills, they are not great poker players and many don’t even gamble. Many make a good living from a single “killer” affiliate site whilst others make their money from, in some cases dozens of thin affiliate sites. Good affiliates are dedicated and highly self motivated. Many affiliates fail simply because they lack focus and put off daily tasks until tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes!

Even an inexperienced affiliate should be able to write 3 decent articles in a couple of hours. Over a year that is over 1000 articles which could be composed nightly by someone even with a full time job if they are dedicated. How many affiliates though end up with at least one site with over 1000 pages after a year? I will tell you that the answer is very few!

I was talking to someone the other night who is thinking about venturing in to the world of gambling affiliation. To be honest, if possible when I’m out, I try not to tell people my occupation as I know that I will end up talking for hours about the gambling affiliate industry, answering a flurry of questions about how it all works and the money that can be made. The other night my guard was down, so yet again I got sucked into an in depth conversation just like the dozens I have had before.

This time I was perhaps too honest. I told them how I was so motivated that over the years I had become so dedicated that I nearly let me marriage fall apart simply due to neglect. I told them that I had even missed an important hospital appointment with my son, who at the time had a suspected heart condition, as I had been working all night coding a new site. You see, where others struggle to stay motivated I’m the complete opposite. Once I do decide to do something I give it 110%, which as you may realise may actually be worse than not being 100% dedicated.

Surprisingly many who do become new gambling affiliates already have a full time job and in many cases even a young family. For those I would urge them to remember that family life must always come first. Perhaps start by trying to get a general sports blog approved by Google News as discussed in  previous articles. Compose your articles once your kids are in bed and your partner is watching the soaps.

Let me detail a basic one year strategy for those who are holding down a full time job with perhaps even a family. Let’s take the Google News approved blog approach. Monthly hosting with a site such a Hostgator with a unique IP will cost you around $12 a month.  An aged domain can cost you as little as $10 but take the time to read my buying an aged domain article. Use Google to find free WordPress magazine themes. Once you find a theme you like simply contact the owner and ask them how much they will charge you to remove the footer links as you don’t want to hamper the development of your site with spammy links on every page. If you prefer to buy a theme outright then use Google to search for “premium WordPress magazine themes” or “premium WordPress news themes”. You will be amazed to find that you can buy a quality theme for as little as $29!

Once you have your theme, plus your hosting package simply install WordPress. If you are not sure how to do that, then simply Google “Hostgator installing WordPress”. If you still are stuck then request help on a forum such as PAL. In regards to any task in relation to WordPress if you get stuck then Google is your friend as there are simply loads of tutorials online.

If you want a custom header on your blog then simply post a contest on the Digital Point forum. Take a look at the contest forum and see what a decent logo, even $10 to $20 will get you. Contests are great for logos and banners as you get a choice of dozens of designs from different designers. Once your blog is up and running all you need to do is write daily articles.

If you are going to try and get your blog approved by Google News then take this approach. Every day write one or two articles for that day and one article backdated, so after a month you have daily articles for a two month period. Don’t forget for your back dated articles you will have to manually change the publish date. After a month submit your site to Google News.

Keep at least some contact details on your site as I will guarantee that once your site is Google News approved you will get a steady stream of link exchange or even link purchase requests. Don’t sell homepage or site wide links on your site, instead either trade articles that include your links or charge a fee for posting others articles on your site. Many understand the authority gained from links on Google News approved sites although many affiliates have not wised up to this yet.

Experiment with different call to actions               plus track all your clicks which I will be covering in great detail in the very near future. Experiment writing about different topics and analyse the traffic each article generates. You will soon start to understand what type of articles generate the most traffic plus more importantly what type of traffic generate the most signups.

After a year you should have a 1000 page plus site with a good number of sign ups and half decent Page Rank. All this is totally achievable if you can dedicate yourself for as little as perhaps 90 minutes a day plus extra time during the weekends for link building. I have seen Google News approved sites sell for $5000+ with only a few hundred articles. After a year your site, with decent Page Rank, 1000+ articles, plus at least a small revenue stream should provide a decent return if you decide the gambling affiliate industry is not for you.

So next time I’m out and on the verge of being drawn into yet another conversation about entering the gambling affiliate industry I can just refer to this article, which should save me from getting another bollocking from my wife.

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Yesterday (Sep 9th 2010) Google announced a new instant search enhancement that in effect shows results as you type. Google states that they are pushing the limits of their technology to help users get better and faster search results.

The new instant search feature is bound to have a massive impact on affiliates, although it is too early to say how search traffic will be affected. I do feel that predicted key phrases shown in the actual query input box as you type could very well push users away from 1 or 2 word key phrases, to more detailed long tail key phrases.

One example is that if a users types “pokerstars” then bonus code appears in the input box. Could this push users to more details and specific search queries? Time will tell!

Google Instant Search

I’m going to lock myself away for a good few days to analyse my sites referring key phrases.

Google Instant Search Demo

Google Instant Launch Event

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Once you have a site approved by Google News you will have the ability to rank for “in demand” key phrases within minutes. Good targeted news articles can send floods of visitors to your site. Many webmaster who have Google News approved sites do not give enough thought to the articles they produce.  They are in effect generating content just for the sake of it so they end up only generating a small stream of traffic for their news articles.

Once your site is approved by Google News, any articles you post on your site  in most cases are inserted on the first page of Google search results for the key phrase you use in your article title.  Key phrases that appear within your article also can be place highly in Google search results, so you must give plenty of thought to the articles you produce.

For now I think I will let screenshots of Google News do the talking,  although I will may cover this topic in much more detail in later articles.

getting traffic from google news

google news traffic

google news traffic

google news traffic

Can you imagine just how much traffic the sites that are hitting Google News for the  specified search phrases are generating?

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How To Get A Site Approved By Google News

In my last article I talked about the vast amount of traffic a single article from a Google News approved site can generate. You might be surprised to hear that I have had many articles that have received over 2000 unique views in a day. The downside is though that news traffic can be hard to convert so you have to really get to grips with targeting specific key phrases. There is though no doubt that a Google News site is a great tool to push targeted traffic to perhaps other sites in your network which are able to convert the traffic at a much better rate. For now though let’s concentrate on how to get a site approved by Google News.

Google has published guidelines in regards to what sites they will accept which are:

1.  Have news content reporting on recent events – please note that we don’t include informational and how-to articles, classified ads, job postings, fictitious content, event announcements, advice columns or adult content;

2.  Have content that is original to the site;

3.  Have articles that are written and maintained by a clear organization, one that has multiple writers and editors with accessible contact information;

4.  Don’t solely promote their own activities or products;

5.  Don’t violate Google’s quality guidelines available at


So in regards to content you must make sure that you have at least 10 posts per week for I would suggest at least a month. To be on the safe site you could even backdate quality news article 2 months. You can simply use Google to find backdated news stories in your niche which of course you can rewrite. Ensure ALL your articles pass Copyscape or you will not be approved.

Make sure the news articles you post are newsworthy and written in a quality manner.

Your site must “appear” to have multiple writers with the key word being “appear”. Simply create an “about us” page with an editor and 4 writers. Write a small bio for each member of your team to give them credibility. Also on this page include a full postal address and phone number. This page should also include details of how others can submit press releases to you.

It is a good idea to include a paragraph as below although obviously, don’t copy it word for word.

All press releases must be sent to our editor using the contact details below. All press releases are subjected to a strict review before publication. Press releases may in some cases be changed prior to publications. You must include full contact details including a business phone number for any press release to be accepted by “your site name”.

If you are worried about putting your own address on the site then get a PO Box. Remember though you can remove these details once your site has been approved.

Don’t submit a site for Google News approval with affiliate banners and links all over the site. If you are trying to get an existing affiliate site approved by Google then create a news site in a sub directory on your site without any affiliate links or banners.

Google is also very specific on the url structure you should use. Initially Google stated:

Ensure the article urls are unique and contain 3 digits or more, the number location doesn’t make any difference in terms of successful crawl ability by our bot.

So if you are using WordPress you could use a permalink structure such as:


If you are creating a site from scratch you could simply initially create some blank posts to get the post id up to three figures then start adding your articles.

Google now accepts Google News Sitemaps which means you no longer need to have the above url structure. If you want to play it safe then stick to a url structure that has the required unique three digits in every url until you are approved. Once approved you can then download the Google News Sitemap Plug-in and change your url structure.

Once you have done all the above and checked, and double check then you can submit your site to Google news using this url:


In the “other comments” box compose a few lines stating why your organisation would benefit Google News. Remember Google is seeking organisations not one man affiliate sites.

After you have submitted your application, a few minutes later you will get an email from Google News as below:

Thank you for your interest in Google News. Please read this message

thoroughly for important instructions on how to finalize your request to

be included in Google News. In order to help us deal with the large number

of requests for inclusion, we ask that you review our guidelines below and

reply to this email if your site meets our qualifications.

We typically include sites in Google News that:

- have news content reporting on recent events – please note that we don’t

include informational and how-to articles, classified ads, job postings,

fictitious content, event announcements, advice columns or adult content;

- have content that is original to the site;

- are written and maintained by a clear organization, one that has

multiple writers and editors with accessible contact information;

- don’t solely promote their own activities or products;

- don’t violate Google’s quality guidelines available at


Please let us know if your site fits these guidelines. If it does, you may

want to review our technical requirements as well found at

http://www.google.com/support/news_pub/bin/topic.py?topic=11665. After we

hear from you, we’ll be happy to review your site for inclusion in Google


While we strive to include as many sources as possible, please be aware

that we can’t guarantee the inclusion of your articles in Google News. We

appreciate your support as we work to improve Google News.


The Google Team

Promptly reply to this email stating that you believe that you have met all the requirements plus also stating that you would like Google News to process your application. Again do this in a business manner.

After this you simply have to wait. I have had sites approved in hours although it is not uncommon to wait for up to two weeks. Remember to keep adding quality news articles to your site whilst your application is being processed. If you have to wait at least a few days then make sure that during this time you are adding quality news articles daily.

Once you are approved it can take up to 48 hours for your articles to be picked up by Google News. Again during this time keep adding quality news articles plus submit a Google News sitemap through Google Webmaster Tools.

Once your articles are appearing in Google News you are safe to add affiliate links and banners to your site.

Good Luck!

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This is an article that I promised to write over a month ago. Sorry for the delay but I have simply been up to my neck in work during the last six weeks.  Anyway, let’s get on with this article. Firstly let me say I have many “sleeper” sites.  These are sites with decent brandable domain names with perhaps a dozen articles and a few quality links. I’m happy to let my sleeper sites age till I decide what to do with them. I will add a link or two each month targeting one or two semi competitive key phrases, but in all honesty my sleeper sites receive little attention from me. We all know the value of aged domains plus perhaps more importantly aged back links, so in my opinion it is very worthwhile to have a few sleeper type sites in several different sub niches.

There has been a lot of debate about the old “content versus links” question on PAL which I think ties in nicely with this article. We all know that anybody can rank a page full of garbage if the page has enough quality links. How about ranking for decent key phrases without any links using short articles with call to actions pushing readers to other quality sites?

Let’s take a look at the visitor stats for the site I’m referring to. You can see it is just ticking along with just a little traffic.

Inspired by others I decided to “wake up” this site and try and get it approved by Google News. I simply started to compose sports and general gambling news articles, back dated to cover the previous six weeks. I made sure that all the site articles passed Copyscape plus of course I ensured I followed all the guidelines set by Google before submitting my site to Google News. Over the course of 6 days (well I did have other things to do) I painstakingly composed all the articles.

After submitting the site, just a few minutes later Google email me. I had to confirm that I had met all their requirements and confirm that I wanted Google to review my site in regards to being accepted by Google News. I did this, fired off the email then switched to tasks on my other sites. I was amazed that in less than five hours later my site was approved! I had to wait 48 hours for my articles to be picked up by Google News but as soon as they were booooooooom!

I soon found though that having an approved news site was draining all my time as I was spending far too much time on the site with little reward. You kind of get addicted to generating thousands of views for Google News articles which can be nightmare to convert. Over the next week I generated over 12,000 unique visitors, with I’m ashamed to say only 5 RMP’s. It was clear to me that I had a lot to learn.

Since getting my first site approved by Google News I have had another approved. I have also made great progress in converting the floods of news traffic into RMPs. In my next article I will discuss in detail exactly what you need to do to get your site approved by Google News then in further articles I will go into detail about how to convert news traffic.

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I thought for today’s article I would take a different approach and detail reasons I have seen affiliate fail to make money from their sites. Affiliate forums are full of posts from affiliates struggling to generate revenue, although in most cases the reasons why they have not succeeded are obvious. Below are four quick tips to help push up your conversion rates.

Site Is of Poor Quality

I for one will never sign up through any site that either has spelling mistakes or sentences composed with poor grammar. I never cease to be amazed by webmaster who obviously spend a great deal of time with their link building, but have not even taken the time to run their text through a spell checker or spent the time  to proof read their content.

Honest Reviews Sell

The internet is littered with sites that give every product they promote a top review. Don’t treat your readers as idiots! Be honest and include products that you don’t rate highly to give more credibility to the main products you are pushing.

Add Quality Content Daily

This is of course a no brainer as more quality content generates more key phrases in search engines which of course generate more readers for your site.  Many though start of full of enthusiasm then move on to other projects, so they end up with many thin half finished affiliate sites.  For your main site add at least one new article every day.

Fine Tune Call to Actions

Most affiliate sites simply are not optimised for conversions! Most days I see great gambling articles that don’t include any call to actions. Firstly make sure all articles contain at least three calls to actions. I like to at the very least have two calls to action above the fold and one below. You need to track the performance of every call of action on your site. Once you are doing exactly that then you can replace the call of actions that are not performing, with call to actions that are performing. Yes it is as simple as that!

Many new affiliates simply don’t have a clue which of their call to actions are generating clicks and which are not. They use the same tracker on all call to actions across multiple pages so they are in effect working in the dark.

Can you honestly answer the following questions?

Which pages on your site generate the most views?

For the above pages which call to actions generate the most clicks and sign ups?

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Firstly let me apologise for the lack of activity on Gambling Cash Cow during the last few weeks. After one of my sites was hacked I decided the time had come to upgrade my servers. Upgrading my servers of course gives me faster page load time plus I have also updated the security of all sites. Add to this I have also taken the time to clean up my cpanel accounts which to be honest were in a mess. All these tasks of course take time, which has meant that many of my other day to day tasks, such as updating content on my sites have had to take a back seat.

I’m delighted to announce that the next Gambling Cash Cow affiliate interview will be with an affiliate account manager from one of the biggest UK online bingo sites. More news on this very soon! I will also be adding a new section to Gambling Cash Cow so let me tell you more.

I realise as an experienced affiliate that there are many basic tasks I carry out that I simply take for granted. I feel that it may be of great benefit to those new to the gambling affiliate industry, or perhaps to those who are struggling to generate revenue, that I add a new writer to this site. The new writer will of course be a novice gambling affiliate. I’m going to take him completely under my wing in return for him writing weekly posts about his progress. In time his posts should be a great resource for new affiliates as you will have a complete record of everything he has done plus of course the progress he has made.

The new section should be up and running by the very latest next week.

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For me the 1st of September signals the start of a new gambling year although perhaps I should explain why. Here in the sunny UK (not), most gambling operators advertise heavily on prime time TV.  During the summer months most pull the plug on TV advertising as of course it is the holiday season.  In real terms there are less people watching the small screen, so any TV ad will have a reduced ROI. For any of you who are from the UK you will soon find that many new gambling TV ads will be appearing during the commercial breaks.

Party have already got their TV campaign up and running with a 6 figure, three week long campaign targeting their online bingo site. Betfair have also launched their campaign taking prime time slots during Euro football games. Most of the other UK gambling operators are set to launch their campaigns during September or at the very latest October.

The surge in TV ad campaigns are one of the main reasons why September and October are very profitable months for UK gambling affiliates. The summer months are always a slog, as many abandon their computers in favour of taking a holiday or just in general getting out and about. I lose many of my regular punters during the summer months as they are taking holidays, keeping the kids occupied during the school summer holidays or simply just enjoying the summer and the long hours of daylight. Roll on October when the clocks go back an hour making the nights begin at 4pm.

To cash in on the flood of new TV ad campaigns I have been contacting the main operators I promote to try and get a preview of the ads they intend to run. Doing this I’m able to get a head start over other affiliates as I can target, believe it or not, key phrases from the ads. Last year I had great success simply targeting a catchy phrase from a song in a bingo ad.

So I welcome the new gambling year with great anticipation, as I hope to see a flood of new sign ups from the heavy TV exposure, plus  I’m looking forward to the return of many of my long term players who always go AWOL every summer.

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Many have asked me if I could turn back time, what would I do differently. Would I build the same sort of sites? Would I be working in the same niches I’m working in now? I thought it may be of interest to many of you if I posted my actual thoughts.

The first thing I will say is that I wish I had entered the online casino niche years before I actually did. To be honest in regards to online casinos I admit I was very naive. You see I’m not a gambler, so simply did not realise how much money there was to be made. I have visited casinos all over the UK to play poker tournaments but never took any notice of the slots or casino games. I wrongly assumed for years that poker was the best gambling niche, although I realise now how wrong I was. Online casino players can lose thousands in a few hours whereas poker players would have to play for days at high stakes to generate the same sort of affiliate income. In my opinion the online casino niche is by far the most profitable of any gambling niche.

Many gambling affiliates sidestep online bingo because they believe they will not generate a good return. Let me say they are way of the mark! I could have jumped into online bingo right at the onset but I simply could not believe online bingo was going to become so popular or profitable. Luckily I had the sense to get in on the bingo niche in the UK before the market was saturated, but in reality I could have started at least 2 years earlier.

I have though learned from my mistakes and now will happily spend up to a week to build a test site targeting a new niche then drip back links to it over a few months. I have also learned that by the time something is a sure fire winner then in most cases it is saturated.

The poker niche is extremely saturated plus the rewards for affiliates are at an all time low. I’m not saying that new affiliates can’t make money from poker but what I am saying is that compared to just a couple of years ago the rewards are reduced whilst the risks have increased. Over the last year I have never seen so many reports of either affiliates being screwed or poker sites going under. I got my fingers severely burnt a few years ago by the Microgaming Tusk fiasco so from that day I only promoted quality UK sites. If I could really turn back time I would have kept well way from Microgaming and spent more time on the quality UK sites which is exactly what I’m doing now!

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As affiliates we all know that at the end of the day  we need links with the key phrases we want to rank in our anchor text. The more competitive the key phrase, then the more links we require. Yes it is as simple as that! Even a page with poor on-page seo can rank highly if the page has enough links.

Over the last few months though, I’m starting to see changes. Some sites are ranking highly with mainly internal links. There is no doubt that big portal brand type sites have more power than ever before. On the flip side I have also seen many exact match domains ranking far better than ever before plus I have also seen pages ranking well with mainly spam links.

It is clear to me that the Google Algorithm is going through major changes, perhaps since Caffeine was introduced. Many feel that some filters are not yet in place within Caffeine, hence pages with mainly spam links ranking highly. I agree with this theory as I have seen some of my test sites regain decent rankings since Caffeine was introduced. These sites were heavily penalised prior to Caffeine being rolled out.

Many have also noticed Google’s current weaknesses and are busy exploiting the spam links loophole. You can purchase a blog harvester script for under $50 which will harvest tens of thousands of blogs that allow comments to be posted in minutes. For the around the same price you can purchase a blog comments poster that will auto submit to your harvest list. In my opinion though building spam links to your site is a terrible idea. Yes in the short term you may well indeed gain rankings but in the long term you will kill your sites. Those who you take rankings from are not going to be happy, so you will stand a high chance of being reported to Google. Many affiliate programs state in their terms and conditions that they will not tolerant affiliates that resort to spamming, so you may even lose your affiliate accounts. Google is sure to resolve the spamming loophole so the chances of your sites receiving a long term penalty are extremely high in the long term.

If you intend to be a gambling affiliate for the long term then I strongly believe you need quality sites. I have said time and time again that affiliates should build big brand type sites. You need sites that are “sticky”, by which I mean sites that retain visitors for more than just a few seconds. I believe that “sticky” sites do indeed get a ranking boost from Google which would explain why a site I launched in May this year is doing far better than I expected.

Google may well be a little messed up at the present time but you can bet your last dollar that they will sort things out.

Don’t be tempted by the dark side!

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I have been saying for a good few months that I expect to see online gambling regulated and legalised in the US within the next year. With Barney Frank’s Bill passing its first hearing the process of the US returning to the online gambling world is at last underway. Those of you, especially those who promoted Euro sites will remember the good times prior to Euro sites closing their doors to US players. Perhaps you remember the likes of Paradise Poker who were one of the giants of the online poker world. Since losing their US players I’m sorry to say Paradise have shrivelled to just a small skin on the Boss network. Other sites have suffered the same fate and have either gone bust or merged with other Euro operators.

Sites such as Poker Stars and Full Tilt who have effectively been sticking two fingers up at the US government by allowing deposits from US players have seen tremendous growth. God knows how many millions or billions these sites have made since the SAFE Port Act was introduced. Euro sites have complied with US law with the likes of Party Gaming even paying the US government $105 million for the period they accepted US players.

I strongly believe that when online gambling is legalised in the US we are going to see great change in the industry. I’m sure the likes of Poker Stars and Full Tilt are going to be hit hard. There has already been an amendment added to Frank’s bill as below.

One of the hot topics raised in a hearing last week was what to do with online gaming sites such as Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker that have been accepting US customers against the government’s wishes. Rep. Bacchus proposed an amendment that would block any sites that have been disregarding US laws regarding Internet gambling from obtaining a license. The prohibition for these sites was agreed upon in the Committee and the amendment was passed.

You don’t need a crystal ball to realise that when the US return to online gambling we are going to see major changes. Expect the Euro sites to prosper taking players from the likes of Stars and Full Tilt. Also I believe that the smaller networks that have failed to cash in, even though they have continued to accept US players are doomed. Can we really expect the likes of Merge to be granted a licence? Do you think Merge will be able to compete when all the Euro sites are once again accepting deposits from US players? I think not!

I also expect for the first time to see big brand US operators cash in on the online gambling boom with the likes of Harrah’s taking the lead. Looks like we have exiting times ahead of us!

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Those who know me will know that I have a network now close to 100 sites. To be honest I’m not exactly sure how many sites I actually have. As you can imagine I’m a very busy man, perhaps too bloody busy.

I have great plans for Gambling Cash Cow but I have limited time in regards to what I can actually do. I also appreciate that as an experienced gambling affiliate I may miss out techniques that I simply take for granted. I want Gambling Cash Cow to be the number one resource for those either struggling to generate a decent monthly income or even those entering the gambling affiliate world as complete novices.

To enhance Gambling Cash Cow I’m willing to mentor either a new affiliate or perhaps a struggling affiliate completely free. I’m looking for someone from the UK ideally based in the North West. The person I pick will be expected to write at least 2 posts per week which will be posted in a new section on this site. In return I will offer the following:

  • Help With Site Creation & SEO
  • Creation Of A Detailed Daily Action Plan
  • Conversion Advice & Techniques
  • Weekly Review Of Progress
  • Monthly Face To Face Meeting To Discuss Progress & Strategy
  • Full Skype Messaging Support

I have no age restrictions but I am looking for someone who is highly motivated, dedicated plus of course who will act on the advice I give them.  I’m looking for someone who is prepared to work at this for at least a year. I would prefer somebody with little or no experience as an affiliate.

If you think you this is for you, then simply email me at tony @ gamblingcashcow .com giving me full details of why you think you are the ideal candidate.

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Well the last week has been a real eye opener for me. Having one of my main sites hacked has given me a lot to think about.  I know now that I have to move away from WordPress which is going to cause a great deal of work. For now though, as I said in my previous post, I’m working flat out to make my WordPress sites far more secure.

I do though strongly believe that many affiliates are running hacked sites which will result in a penalty from Google as per the statement below

Hidden links whether put there by the website owner or by a hacker or a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can result in a site being penalized or even de-indexed.   (Google’s process of indexing is automated and there is not really a way for them to determine if the hidden links were added by the website owner or a hacker.)

Remember my site was functioning normally with no visible sign of any problem until one day most of the key phrases from the site received a -450 penalty. I checked all the pages in multi browsers viewing the source code and could see nothing wrong. It was not until I use the Google Labs Tool, Fetch As Google Bot that I could see the source of the problem which was hundreds of inserted spam links.

For anybody who experiences a drop in rankings for a WordPress site I would advise that your first port of call should be to check your site’s pages with the Fetch As Google Bot tool. This is the only way you will see the spam links.

Next check all your site’s source code. Search for source code for something that starts like the  example below.


Better still search for “eval(base64” in your files.

To convert the above string go to http://ostermiller.org/calc/encode.html and copy the string then select decode base 64. This will convert the string into readable code. If you are using a free theme then you will probably find the above sort of string in your themes footer and maybe even the function file. You can though of course check the contents of the string by decoding it.

Also remember that the injection hack that attacked my site was only present in a few files that I could have easily overlooked. Make sure you check EVERY file of your site!

If the hack goes unnoticed then you will receive a penalty from Google resulting in loss of possible all your rankings. The good news is that if you get the hack removed quickly, submit a fresh site map to Google then you can get back your rankings quickly. I know this for a fact as I’m delighted to say my rakings returned early this morning.

I do realise it is easy to take things for granted especially when things are going well but I suggest that you start taking the time to check your WordPress sites. Don’t let what happened to me happen to you!

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How Secure Are Your WordPress Sites?

After 3 frantic days without sleep my site is back online and hack free. On reflection I have made mistakes as my site was simply open to hacks. In this article I’m going to cover what steps you can take to make your site more secure so you don’t experience what I have been through.

Hide WordPress Version Details

Firstly make sure all of your WordPress sites are using the latest version of WordPress.  I made a big mistake of not updating to the latest version as my custom theme was not compatible with version 3 of WordPress. To be honest this was a stupid mistake. WordPress frequently releases updates which fix security issues. There are many free online hacks that can be downloaded so you can start hacking old versions of WordPress within minutes. If any of your sites are using old version of WordPress then you have a higher risk of being hacked.

Related to the point don’t advertise what version of WordPress you are using. Every default version of WordPress by default shows the version used if you view the source as below.

Change the Meta name so it looks something like the example below.

Change WordPress SQL Table Prefix

I would say that perhaps 99.99% of WordPress installs use the wp_ sql table prefix. This again is a mistake. Simply changing this to something else will mean that many of the current hacks will not be able to attack your site.

Move The WP-Admin Folder

Again most WordPress installations have the admin folder in the standard position. Simply moving this folder to another location will make your site more secure.

File Permissions

Think about the file permissions of your site otherwise you are in effect giving the whole world access to hack your site. Use the settings as below.

Common WordPress Themes

Be very careful with common WordPress themes that are used on thousands of sites. For example it would be easy to release a free theme with a security hole then attack those who use the theme. If you are using a well known theme then at least rename the theme folder and change the theme meta name.

Common WordPress Plug-ins

Again popular plug-ins have been subjected to hacks. Use as few plug-ins as possible and try and install with a different folder name than the default plug-in folder. Also if possible remove meta names etc.

Administrator Login Details

Don’t have your main admin login as simply “admin”. Also use a secure password to stop brute force attacks. There are many apps available online to generate secure passwords.


Make sure you have at the very least a weekly backup of your sql database plus a full database export using the WordPress tools option. Also make sure you have a copy of all custom theme files.

At the end of the day no site is ever going to be 100% secure. There is though no doubt that if you break away from having a standard WordPress install then you are going to reduce the chances of being hacked.

I will say that having one of my best earning sites hacked has been a wakeup call. Perhaps now the time has come for me to develop my own CMS so I can vastly reduce worries of future hacks.

In the next post I will talk about how to spot WordPress hacks. Remember not all attacks wil take your site offline!

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Site Loses All Google Rankings – Case Study Part 1

Last week one of my established sites lost all rankings. I actually witnessed 30+ high profile key phrases vanish from the Google index within minutes early one morning last week. I have of course lost rankings before as have most affiliates at some time.  To see one of my major sites take such a hit though was simply sickening. Surely this must be a severe Google penalty?

First port of call was Google Webmaster Tools but to my dismay there were no errors or messages. Next I checked the site, checked the RSS feed, checked the source code of pages in the browser and even the Google cache but I could see nothing wrong at all. I even checked the back links and search queries in case the site had been subjected to some form of attack but I could not find anything wrong.

Next port of call was the main webmaster forums to see if others had experience any drastic changes in SERPS but again nothing. Even the other site on the same Cpanel account was ranking as normal so at this stage I simply thought that the only explanation could be that I had simply been penalised by Google. That was until I checked the main urls with the Fetch As Google Bot Tool! Using this tool to check the main urls I could see dozens of injected spam links on every page. It seems that the injected links could only be seen by Google Bot.

After a few hours searching the sites source files I found a couple of php files with the dreaded Eval string. I posted the string into a base 64 decoder just to clarify it was the source of my problems. Indeed it was! Next I pasted the string into Google but was unable to find an exact match. It looked like my site had been targeted to lose it rankings. The spam links did not even link to actual sites as the domains did not exist. Searching the internet I found others who had been subjected to this sort of attack but they could trace the links to pharma sites. Perhaps this was simply an attack to destroy my sites SERPS?

Today I did find something similar on the Webmaster World forum so perhaps for those interested in this episode the thread is well worth a read.

I’m going to go into this in far more detail once I have my site back up and running again. I’m wondering though how many others have had this sort of thing happen to them and simply put it down to a Google penalty rather than find the actual source of the problem?

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Today Barney Frank’s bill is being voted on by a committee which if successful will lead to a full House vote, followed by the Senate and then finally with Obama’s signature . Are we going to witness the first steps of legalised gambling in the US today?

The Committee on Financial Services will meet in open session on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, (and subsequent days if necessary) at 10 a.m. in room 2128 Rayburn House Office Building to consider the following measures:

(1) H.R. 5814, Public Housing Reinvestment and Tenant Protection Act of 2010;
(2) H.R. 4868, Housing Preservation and Tenant Protection Act of 2010;
(3) H.R. 2267, Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act;
(4) H.R. 3421, Medical Debt Relief Act of 2009;
(5) H.R. 4790, Shareholder Protection Act of 2010; and
(6) H.R. 5823, United States Covered Bond Act of 2010.

For all us gambling affiliate today could be a major turning point. Let’s hope it goes well!

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Today someone asked me to take a look at their site as they could not understand how they could not convert over 150 daily visitors into even one sign up. I have to admit after inspecting their site it was far from the best affiliate site in the world. Saying that though the reviews were not bad plus they were using good call to actions. From what I could see I would expect daily traffic of 150+ to generate signups so I was intrigued to why healthy traffic was generating no sign ups.

The webmaster gave me access to his site so I logged on to take a look. Within a few seconds of logging into the webmaster’s WordPress admin it became clear to me the source of the problem. The site had over 12,000 comments waiting to be approved. In simple terms the site was being spammed to death. A quick glance at the site’s traffic stats showed only a small trickle of search engine traffic and no traffic from quality referrals. In infect most of the 150 daily visitors were simply spam bots. I advised the user to mark the comments as spam plus close comments on posts and pages that were being spam attacked.

This episode reminds me of a friend who purchased a site with reported traffic of over 500 uniques a day. On closer inspection the traffic was mainly either spam bots, hot links to images plus believe it or not to a hidden porn page on the site.

How much of your site’s traffic is real quality traffic?

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This is a question that I get asked most weeks so I though perhaps I should cover it in an article. If you are starting with a new domain targeting even semi competitive key phrases you should expect to establish your site in around a year. New sites have to earn trust with search engines. You need to build links at a steady pace plus you need to build up your site’s content also at a steady pace. Back links have to age to gain power as do links on internal pages. Trying to speed up the process up by acquiring hundreds of links during a site’s early months will simply result in search engines holding your site back for an extended period.  Those who build gambling affiliate sites expecting a good return in a short time end up leaving the industry in most cases earning very little. To become a successful gambling affiliate you need to accept that you will have to commit yourself to the long term.

For those who do stick it out I have some great news for you. As your site and of course your back link age then you will start to increase you traffic every month. As you are adding new content every week you will of course be generating more long tail search queries. As you are increasing the number of pages of your site your internal site wide links will also become more powerful. All you have to do is keep at it; it is as simple as that.

If affiliates simply stuck with a couple of sites, concentrating their efforts on these sites then they would have a great chance of success. The trouble is that many get distracted ending up with dozens of sites so dilute their content and link building efforts. A thousands back links and pages have far less ranking power when they are spread across a dozen sites rather than a couple. I strongly advise you to start with no more than two main sites, not even thinking about adding more sites until at least one is generating a healthy monthly revenue stream.

There are though always exceptions to the rule. In my next article I will tell you about how a site I had neglected went from zero traffic a day to over 2700 visitors a day in just 9 days.

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No matter what the subject matter, nobody knows it all! One of the great aspects of working as an online affiliate is that the industry is so volatile. Google can change its algorithm overnight, operators can change their terms and condition plus of course new products in the form of gambling games and slots are launched all the time. I know many don’t like change but I love it. I love the challenges that change brings. As I have said before in regards to operators I play it safe and stick to the big UK brands so I’m I don’t have to worry about being screwed. I am though like all other affiliates at risk of losing ranking to Google algorithm changes, at risk to losing rankings from perhaps aggressive link building from other affiliates plus perhaps even changes in the UK gambling laws although that possibility is remote.

This year we have seen perhaps more major changes in the Google algorithm that ever before.  I know of many affiliates who have lost rankings overnight. I know others that have seen a big drop in long tail traffic plus I have seen on many webmaster forums that new sites are simply not picking up the initial traffic they use to. I have been hit by these tweaks to the Google algorithm. Some of my sites have seen a decline in traffic although my main sites seem to have benefited from the updates. The updates though have spurred me into action so I now have a completely revamped strategy compared to just a year ago.

I strongly believe that for those affiliates who are willing to spend time with test sites that the rewards can be great. When Google does tweak its algorithm many webmaster simply wait for an answer to appear on webmaster forums. Those who are willing to test different techniques to find the solutions are the ones that will prosper.

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We are delighted to announce that starting from this week we will be posting one hour audio interviews with the top UK gambling account managers. We feel that for some time there has been a gulf between affiliates and account managers. We believe in depth interviews with the leading account managers will help to bridge the gulf.

Later this week we will post a one hour interview with members of the Virgin Games affiliate team including Pierrick Leveque, Head of Acquisition, Ollie Wilson the Casino Account Manager and Craig Perrott, Virgin Games Bingo Account Manager. I’m currently editing the interview down to around 60 minutes but can tell you that the interview gives great insight in to the gambling affiliate industry.

Next month we will posting a full one hour audio interview with the Betfair team including Joe Legge who is perhaps one of the most experienced UK account managers as he has worked for Paradise, Virgin and currently Betfair.

At Gambling Cash Cow we believe we are breaking the mould in regards to gambling affiliate techniques and information plus we feel we have a lot more to offer our readers. We intend to make GCC a complete resource for those either entering the gambling affiliate world or even for those who are struggling to generate revenue from sites with potential.

We are committed at GCC to skip the bullshit to give you advice and techniques that really do generate income!

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Exciting News!

As you know I’m trying to make Gambling Cash Cow a complete resource for those entering the world of gambling affiliation. I feel there is a gulf between affiliates and account managers which sometimes can result in misinformation or even in some cases bad feelings. To perhaps bridge the gulf I intend to obtain interviews with all of the top UK account managers.

I’m delighted to announce that Andrew Hawes has joined Gambling Cash Cow. Andrew has a vast amount of broadcasting experience including working for the BBC as a football commentator. He also has experience of poker reporting, including working for Poker Tour Radio for which he was involved with most of the broadcasts from Dusk Till Dawn.

Our first interview is already in the can which features three of the team from Virgin Games. We hope to have this interview edited and online within the next few days.

We are also on the lookout for established UK affiliates who would be happy to be interviewed. We would be happy to visit you anywhere in the UK. This would not only give you the chance to promote yourself for free but give you the chance to help new affiliates. If you are interested please contact us here.

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If you read webmaster forums you will have noticed that many webmaster are to say the least upset that the quarterly page rank export have not occurred yet. This of course has sent some webmasters in to panic mode. Google normally exports the page rank data every 3 months although this is not always the case. Let’s look at the history of the page rank updates for the last couple of years.

Toolbar Page Rank updated on April 03rd 2010

Toolbar Page Rank updated on December 30th 2009

Toolbar Page Rank updated on October 30th 2009

Toolbar Page Rank updated on June 25th 2009

Toolbar Page Rank updated on May 27th 2009

Toolbar Page Rank updated on April 1st 2009

Toolbar Page Rank updated on December 31st 2008

Toolbar Page Rank updated on September 26th 2008

Toolbar Page Rank updated on July 25th 2008

Toolbar Page Rank updated on April 30th 2008

As you can see from the above data sometimes the interval between updates can be up to 4 months although normally it is indeed around 3 months. So why do so many webmaster get so upset and agitated when the page rank update is overdue? Should we really care?

Well the trouble is many webmasters make their living by simply selling links on sites with page rank. They use the interval between updates to manipulate the page rank values of their sites, simply to cash in once the page rank values have been updated. A delay in the Google Page Rank export results in the Page Rank sellers having to wait to cash in on their new Page Rank values.

In simple terms Google has created a monster which they can’t control, until in my opinion Page Rank is either not visible or scrapped.

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In you are looking to jump in to an industry that will see rapid growth during the next few years then the online gambling sector is a must. Online gambling is still one of the fastest growing sectors. A report published by H2 Gambling Capital stated the size of the global online gambling market is a staggering $21 billion. The report also stated that by 2012 the market could be worth at least $30 billion. Of course at the moment online gambling is illegal in many countries. If the likes of America, China, Japan or South Korea legalized and regulated online gambling then of course the projected 2012 figures will be greatly overshadowed.

A  UK National Gamers Survey Report revealed British gamblers spent 280 million playing online casual games in 2009. Similar studies carried out in other countries revealed that French players spent 220 million and Germans 440 million over the same period. There are an estimated 13.3 million Brits playing on various game portals plus 170 million was spent on mobile games in 2009.

Deutsche bank claims online gaming market penetration is expected to reach 9 percent by 2012, with global online gaming having recorded growth of 23 percent since 2001. Also of great importance is that home broadband users are expected to reach 750m by 2012 (up from 481m in 2008), coupled with rising online gaming regulation across the world, these forecasts look very achievable.

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I believe that affiliate and general webmaster forums can be a great resource for new and experienced affiliates. Perhaps though for some, they can be a hindrance. I have come to this conclusion tonight after talking to someone who has great potential, but at the present time has not managed to turn great content in to revenue.

Of course affiliate forums have a range of members that range from those that are starting out in the industry to those at the highest level. Forums also contain some members who simply have gained respect from past history although they may no longer be making a cent. I would also say that affiliate forums contain a range of advice that can range from extremely poor to superb. This is of course the nature of all forums.  In general I’m not one to give out trust to anybody simply because someone may tell me that a certain member has credibility. Remember the Blonde Poker scam story?

I believe too many new affiliates latch on to advice that is posted in forums. In many cases giving the advice far more credibility then it deserves. I believe we all . at least to some degree have “sheep” mentality built in to our genes. We almost have to fight the urge to jump in with the crowd. For instance, if a well known forum guru posts that a certain technique works well, then a percentage of the members of that forum will instantly give the technique 100% credibility. It simply has to be true because the guru said so. The same of course can also be said for any technique that is stated to be a waste of time.

Perhaps a good example is the myth that banners are poor in regards to generating clicks. I know of many affiliates who no longer use banners as they now only use text call to actions. Why would they use banners when the forum gurus have said many times that banners simply don’t convert? The “don’t use banners” advice is in general,  too sweeping a statement. I have had great success using custom banners which have helped me increases conversions by well over 120%. Even a very well known site that was purchased by Poker Stars recently, was renowned for using standard banners to great effect. The same of course can be said for other techniques that have either been dismissed or “pumped up” on affiliate forums.

Don’t be a sheep! Take time out to test different techniques on your sites so you start to work on actual results rather than hearsay. Affiliate forums can be a great resource, of that there is no doubt. Simply don’t believe everything you read!

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I’m sure many think about becoming affiliates but pass on the idea as they wrongly think they don’t have the skills required to become successful. I thought that perhaps writing about what is required to make it as an affiliate would be of benefit to some.

Firstly many believe that to build even a couple of decent websites you need a healthy bankroll. This simply is not true. You can host multiple websites for just a few dollars a month.  You can use WordPress for your sites, which of course is free, plus you can even utilise free WordPress themes that will give your sites a semi pro look.  Even customising your site with a custom designed header, will only cost you around $20, if you post a contest on Digital Point.

Many also worry that they don’t have the technical skills to build sites although this should not be a major concern. WordPress can be installed in less than a few minutes with just a couple of clicks. If you want to learn how to modify your WordPress installations then there are thousands upon thousands of WordPress tutorials online.

Many worry that SEO is simply too technical, but again this is a myth. There are indeed many so called SEO specialist who spew out eloquent articles on affiliate and webmaster forums but most of these are simply pampering their own egos. SEO is not rocket science. If I’m honest I would recommend that you take advice from successful affiliates rather then so called SEO experts. Successful affiliates become “jack of all trades” with perhaps the most important skill they have is the ability to create content that sells, which of course is a skill that many SEO specialist don’t have.

In my opinion the most important attributes required are to be self motivated and simply to really want success badly. I would always back a self motivated individual with zero IT or marketing skills over  somebody  who even had a level or IT and marketing experience. You simply have to want it! I know many who could make it as an affiliate but they simply lack discipline. Think about it! Even if you only write 3 articles a day for one site, after a year the site will have 1000 pages. How many affiliates create a site with 1000 pages? Very few!

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Many gambling affiliates simply use article marketing to build links. They are happy to spin articles endless times so that the final content ends up as eligible crap. I believe links on article directories such as Ezines and Article Base were devalued by Google late last year. This though does not mean that submitting articles to these directories is a waste of time.

Using long tail key phrases it is possible to post an article on a quality article directory and rank extremely highly for the key phrase within minutes. As Google classes the quality article directories as authority sites new content is indexed straight away plus in many cases outranking similar content on non authority sites.

Don’t believe me? Use Google to search for the phrase “Roulette Tip” or even “Roulette Tip”

See how the article ranks top for “Roulette Tip” and 3rd for “Roulette Tips”. Let’s take a look at the number of views this article has received.

The key of course is to find the right long tail key phrases to target plus to have a couple of great call to actions in the resource box so you get a great CTR. Read my article on Article Marketing if you would like to try this for yourself.

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I really do feel for those new to the gambling affiliate industry for many different reasons. Firstly if you post on any affiliate forum simply asking for advice you will get many different answers.  As I have said before there are many ways to skin a cat so the method you choose should of course be the method that is most suitable to you. Don’t look for a magic formula that will work for all as it does not exist. I reckon many new affiliates end up wasting up to a year or more, half trying recommended strategies before finding a strategy that they are happy with.

Known Your Strengths

There is no point starting out to create an authority poker strategy site unless you can write well, plus have a great understanding of the game. If you have a decent budget then you could outsource your content but you will have to seek out quality writers. I will say quality poker strategy writers are few and far between. This is of course is common sense. I’m sorry to say though that there are many poker strategy type sites with badly composed articles  with what can only be describes as abysmal strategy advice. Also note that many affiliates run out of ideas after they have created up to 50 articles. Remember Google loves quality content! Google loves big sites! Google hates thin authority sites!

Don’t Expect Instant Success

Many jump in to the affiliate industry because they think they will achieve instant success. In most cases this is 100% bollocks! In the real world sites take time to earn trust with search engines and of course readers. Back links need to be added at a steady and regular pace as so does content. Simply adding just 2 quality articles to a site with good optimised content over a year will provide decent traffic. Adding a handful of quality back links each week will boost rankings of semi competitive key phrases. Building a new site is not a sprint it is a marathon.

Only Promote Quality Brands

I strongly believe that quality counts! Many affiliates waste their time on poor brands that simply don’t have the conversion power of quality brands. I believe that my sites are only as good as the brands they are promoting.

Dedicate Yourself!

If you want to become a successful affiliate then you have to work at it. Build quality content daily! Build quality links every week! Many affiliates fail because in reality they are lazy and so neglect their sites. You have to really want success! Don’t waste time watching TV when you should be creating quality content.

Don’t Rely On Google

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! There are many other ways to generate traffic for your sites other than Google. Many affiliates have had healthy incomes wiped out virtually overnight due to Google algorithm changes. Remember to target social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Target video sites such as Youtube and Vimeo. Offline marketing can also be very beneficial.

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Content Creation Ideas For Ebooks

This article follows on from my earlier List Building Techniques article. Many struggle to think of subject matter for an eBook so I thought I would do a bit of brainstorming for you. Let’s think about possible content for a sports betting eBook.

Over the last few years sports betting has really evolved with many online sports betting sites now offering in-play betting plus more markets for each game or race than ever before. If you take an hour or so to read many sports betting affiliate sites most only cover the basics type of bets. Many affiliate sites are covering World Cup games but only predicting and giving advice on who will win, or the actual score. There are dozens are markets for each World Cup game including:

Team To Win 1st Half

Team To Win 2nd Half

Half Time Score

Full Time Score

Over Under 1.5 Goals

Over Under 2.5 Goals

Over Under 3.5 Goals

Over Under 4.5 Goals

Number Of Bookings

Total Corners

The above are just a few of the markets that are available for every soccer game. There are many more! Most punters simply bet on a team to win plus perhaps the actual score. How about creating an eBook on all the types of bets available?

You could even monitor the sites that offer in-play betting during a game then write an eBook detailing which sites offer the best value. If you check the in-play odds of even a few sites during a game you will find that some sites do indeed offer better odds than others.

How about monitoring the over / under odds during a game on a couple of sites? You could even spend a few hours doing a little research, looking at the teams who are still in the World Cup. If they tend to score early then perhaps they are great value to win the 1st half? If one game features 2 teams with good defences then perhaps over / under 1.5 goals could be suggested as a great bet.

Many affiliates will not do any of the above simply because it involves extra work. Those who do will be the ones who prosper.

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As I have said before SEO is not that difficult. I think that the trouble with many affiliates is that they are looking for shortcuts or in many ways the easy option.  We all known that Google is doing its upmost to clamp down on link sellers plus of course trying at the very least to discount purchased links.  Let me relate back to only a year ago with my experience with building links on articles.

Last year I had great success submitting articles on article directory sites. I worked on 5 or 6 key phrases, managing to get 1st page rankings for all key phrases, with very little effort. All I did to obtain these rankings was create a few articles, spin them, and auto post them on the top 100 article sites. I will be honest and say I used a program called Article Post Robot. Article Post Robot automates the posting process plus gives you the ability to change many aspects of every article posted. I would simply spend an hour or two preparing the articles then let the script submit them whilst I slept.

I even told a friend exactly what I was doing and at I point we both were fighting for a well known UK sports book key phrases both ranking on the 1st page of Google’s search results. During late October last year, virtually overnight, all ranking were lost. It was clear that Google had changed its algorithm to give less weight to links on articles. Google now is really getting to grips with affiliates so now more than ever you need to think like Google.

So what are the best links to build?

What is the best placement for links?

Firstly any links that are easy to obtain are in most cases complete waste of time. Links such as forum signatures, article resource box links and most social network links are virtually worthless. Please note though that I said most! You may get some short terms results, but long term these types of links are of no value so any rankings gained will be lost. You will also run the risk of receiving a penalty from Google. Trust me I know all about Google penalties as I have experienced many over the years.

In regards to link placement, just take a moment to think for a minute. What type of links do you see in sidebars? What type of links do you see in footers? Let’s be honest and say that perhaps 99% of the time these types of links are paid links. Don’t you think Google realises this? Links in the actual body text are in most cases genuine resource links. These are the type of links you should be putting your energy into acquiring.

I believe Google is devaluing more types of links than ever before. Over the past few months many affiliates have had sites dropped out of the Google index. Many complain that their sites have had strong back links but on closer inspection it is clear that many of their links were paid links. In my opinion, in content links surrounded by a paragraph or two of relevant  content have never been more powerful!

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The next Google Page Rank Update should occur within the next week which will create a stir on most webmaster forums. Why though is Page Rank so important to many? Many webmasters generate their entire income from Page Rank. Google may well state that webmasters should not sell links on their sites but the reality is that Google itself has created most of the link selling market. As I have said before most webmaster only use Page Rank plus perhaps the number of outbound links to determine the quality of urls. This is of course a big mistake.

Since the conception of Page Rank many webmasters simply build sites with the sole intention of gaining a decent Page Ranks so they can sell links. I know of many webmasters making a good living from link sales alone. I also have witness some links sold for unbelievable prices. In my book Google has created a monster. It is clear that no matter what Google states in regards to links sales they have no chance of stopping the link sale gravy train whilst visible Page Rank exists. As you may have already guessed I would like to see Google scrap its Page Rank system.

Just imagine that tomorrow Google did indeed scrap Page Rank. What metrics would you use to gauge the quality of sites and their internal pages? Let me tell you that if most webmasters ignored Page Rank, instead judging the quality of sites using other metrics than PR, then they would be able to find far better sites for back links.

So that’s my rant over let’s get back to the real world as I simply can’t see Google scraping Page Rank in the near future.

How To Monitor Page Rank

Many new webmaster are confused in regards to all the fuss about page rank so let’s cover the basics. To see the page rank of any webpage you can either visit a page rank checking site such as www.checkpagerank.net or add a tool to your browser so that for every page you can see page rank. I prefer to use the Firefox add on SEO Status Page Rank / Alexa Toolbar. This add-on loads a visible toolbar on every page I visit. See below.

As you can see the toolbar displays Page Rank and Alexa plus has an option to check a sites back links with just one click. It also has an option to Dig Page Rank which is the ability to see sites Page Rank on dozens of different Google Date Centres.  The Dig PR option is only really useful when Google is exporting new Page Rank values. At first the new values only appear on one or two data centres thus the need for the Dig PR option.  If you use the Dig PR option during a Page Rank export you will at first see one or two data centres with different values. These values are in effect the sites new Page Rank score. Within 48 hours the new values are spread to all data centres.

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Of course we know that Google tweaks its algorithm most days. The reality is that most of these tweaks go unnoticed and have little effect in regards to rankings. This year we have already seen major changes to the Google algorithm during Feb, late April and June. Google has admitted that that in regards to long tail search queries they have indeed changed their algorithm. Many affiliates are reporting other problems in regards to getting new sites indexed plus even perhaps a new extended sandbox.

New sites targeting competitive key phrases have been receiving a penalty for a few years. Google freely admits that this is the case, as have webmasters, whom named this penalty, the Google Sandbox. I have experienced the Google Sandbox many times with new sites. I would launch a new site adding a few quality links which would give the site a decent ranking.  If the site was targeting competitive key phrases I could guarantee that the site would lose its obtained ranking within 2 to 4 weeks. In my opinion there were several factors which determined how long the site would be “sandboxed”. Some of the factors included:

Back Links Quality

Back Links Quantity

Back Links Age

The Competitiveness of the Key Phrases Targeted

Up until this year I found that sites targeting uncompetitive key phrases were not sandboxed or if sandboxed were quickly returned to the main index.  Competitive key phrases, from my experiences were sandboxed for as little as 2 weeks up to 6 months. It seemed clear to many that part of Google’s algorithm did include a trust rank.

Many webmaster realised the above factors were true with many developing methods to bypass the Google Sandbox. I also practised these methods with great success. This year though things changed!

After the February Google algorithm update and more so after the May Day Google Long Tail Google update many webmasters were reported that they were struggling to get new sites indexed. Many webmasters also reported that new site’s pages that did get indexed were receiving very little long tail traffic. To many it seemed clear that the Google Sandboxed had been extended. Perhaps extra conditions had been added to Google’s Trust Rank?

From early March 2010 I tested others claims by launching new sites. I will say that I was amazed to encounter the same problems others were reporting. I too found that my new sites were taking longer to be indexed plus when pages were indexed long tail traffic was nonexistent. I do though love a challenge so I started to find ways to bypass the new Google Sandbox or should I say to increase my new sites Trust Ranking.

After nearly 4 months of testing I’m certain that Google has extended the so called Sandbox. I strongly believe that part of the Google algorithm does include a Trust Rank. Webmaster will to have to adapt to the algorithm changes. Those in the know will know that there is more to link building that simply building links with a high page rank. It seems clear to me that some sites can have a high trust rank even though they have no or little page rank.

Let’s completely forget about page rank for the moment and think about trust rank. It is common knowledge that good sites rarely links to bad sites although bad sites will link to good sites. Could it be possible that some sites have a high trust rank so become part of a seed set feeding Trust Rank to other sites? Could it also be possible that some high PR sites could now be flagged by Google as simply spam sites (low trust rank)?  Perhaps after the next Google Page Rank update we will see sites increase Page Rank but as they still have a low Trust Rank they still will struggle to obtain decent long tail traffic from Google? Perhaps new sites simply need to increase their trust rank?

The next Google Page Rank update is expected within the next week or two. Perhaps then we will have a better understanding of what is happening.

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There has been much debate regarding the popularity of poker this year with many such as myself stating that poker is in decline. Can we really say the poker boom is well and truly over? What metric can we use to determine the current popularity of poker? Well for the purpose of this article I’m mainly going to reference to the UK poker scene, in particularly the live poker scene.

As an old git I can relate back to live poker before the online poker boom. I use to play at the flea bitten card room at Stanley’s Casino, Derby. On a good night we would have 20 players for the £20 rebuy, whilst on a bad night we were down to a single table. Of course the online poker boom had a massive effect on card rooms around the UK. Virtually overnight the attendance at Stanley’s shot up to 50, 60 or sometimes over 70.  This of course was mirrored all around the UK. A few years ago perhaps the best card room in Europe was built in Nottingham which was just a 20 minutes drive from my home. Instead of playing a £20 rebuy at Stanley’s I was now playing £25 and £50 buy ins at DTD with up to 200 runners. How times had changed!

Casinos throughout the UK started to cash in on the poker boom with most card rooms packed out for their regular holdem tournaments. Even the G-Casino chain cashed in on the boom creating the GUKPT poker tour, a poker festival each month at a different venue around the UK with the main event being a £1000 buy in.

So what is the state of play now? Is live poker still thriving? Well I’m sorry to say that it is very clear that live poker in the UK is in decline. Virtually every GUKPT event this year, compared to last year, has seen reduced entries. The £25 midweek buy in event at DTD that used to attract up to 200 runners is now struggling to attract 70. Even EPT events seem to be attracting fewer entries compared to last year.

As the number of online poker players increased it was very clear that many of these filtered to the live poker scene.  It now seems clear that as the number of online poker players decrease,  this results in less players buying into live poker events.

I know many affiliates will be in denial, perhaps blaming the decline on the World Cup or even say the decline is seasonal. To me though, these arguments are not valid, as the decline has been in progress for perhaps the last year.

I’m not saying that poker is going to die, but it does seem clear to me that interest in the game is levelling off. We desperately need legalised online gambling in the US, which many suggest could create another boom.

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I will admit I can be a miserable old sod but some things really do wind me up. One of my major pets hates is how the same SEO debates seem to reappear time and time again on affiliate forums. Perhaps the greatest offender is the debate on the extra bonus in regards to rankings of exact match domains. I simply hate this debate! To be honest I’m sick and tired of it. Before I start to rant let me quote what Matt Cutts has stated about exact match domains on many occasions.

“Owning a keyword match domain name is going to carry some weight in Google for the foreseeable future”

So there you have it! Straight from the main man himself! You would of course think that the above statement would put an end to the debate but I’m sorry to say this is not the case. The doubters simply check a key phrase in Google then offer a counter view as an exact match domain is being outranked by a non exact match domain. This is of course crazy! Matt Cutts did not state that owning a keyword match domain has immense weight, he simply said some weight.

Rather than debating a known fact that keyword match domains in Google’s algorithm do indeed get a boost, which we know is true. We should try to find out how much they are weighted in the Google algorithm as this is the key. For example, breaking this down to the very basics. Let’s say that exact match domains are weighted to an extent where they are credited with 50 links of x quality and the top 5 search results have over 100 links of x quality then of course the exact match domain is going to rank BELOW them. This ties in with the scenario when some purchase exact match domains and are disappointed when they don’t rank top 3 or even top 10. Remember exact match domains get credited with extra weight which is not a guarantee to rank top 3.

So there you have it!

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Niche online forums can be a great source of information. For example relating to the gambling affiliate niche signing up to Poker Affiliate Listing is simply a must. PAL is a niche forum for those who work as gambling affiliates although members also include operators, content writers and link sellers. Buried amongst the fluff you will find some great posts. Remember though, as in the case of all forums, the range of expertise and post quality will range from poor to superb. This is the case with all forums.

Form experience of running online forums for many years I will tell you to take what you read with a pinch of salt. I read many webmaster type forums and stumble on claims of new SEO techniques most months.  I may test out these techniques on test sites or pages, but being an old sceptic I will never believe anything I read on a forum until I have tested the technique myself. I will say the same for those who have built up their own reputations online. Until I’m sure that I trust them 100% then to me their reputation means nothing.

In general on many forums especially webmaster and affiliate forums many of the members are “wannabes”.  Despite what many say, making money online takes a hell of a lot of work and dedication with most failing to do so. Time and time again I have seen the wannabes jump on the latest bandwagon and be exploited by experience marketeers selling the latest sure fire technique that they claim will help affiliates make a fortune.

Perhaps the greatest example of how an online reputation can be built and exploited is the recent story of Neil Blatchly from the UK Blonde Poker Forum. Blatchly was a long term member of the Blonde Poker forum who many held in high regard. Last year he posted a staking thread asking for backers so he could test his sports betting trading techniques on the Betfair Exchange. With initially just a few backers he started to post amazing stories of his success plus of course stated how well his backer’s investments were doing. As you can imagine many jumped on the bandwagon with Blatchly taking up to £120K in stakes from many members of the forum.

Each week he would post about how well his system was working gaining almost god like status on the forum. During the last month or so a couple of members started to get suspicious so they asked an experienced sports betting trader to take a look at Blatchly’s data on the forum. The trader (arbboy) posted some valid comments on the forum which raised some valid concerned in regards to what Blatchly was doing. The masses of the Blonde Forum simply could not believe that their hero was up to no good. As you can imagine rather than looking into what arbboy was saying most members of the forum simply dismissed his posts treating him like some sort of troll. So what did the mods of the Blonde Forum do? Well they banned arbboy.

As you well may now have guessed arbboy was proved to be right as Blatchly’s sports betting trading system was no more than a scam. He had indeed traded but had been skimming the trades plus “degened” many thousands away on roulette and horse racing. He even treated his family to a 5 star holiday in Miami! It is not for me to say who should be blamed for the Blonde Poker fiasco I’m simply using the case to prove to you how online reputations can in reality mean very little.

Neil Blatchly scammed 120K+

Neil Blatchly Scandal

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Again I will say that the chances  you will become successful affiliates are slim. The chances that you will become a full time affiliate are even more remote. There is though more than one way to skin a cat. Even if your sites fail to generate affiliate income your sites can still become a cash cow.

There is no doubt that quality links in the gambling niche are much harder to obtain than links in virtually every other niche. Many webmasters working in general niches will simply not allow gambling links on their sites as they worry they will lose their Google Adsense affiliate account. General affiliates that do allow gambling links on the whole have crappy spam sites so as you can imagine links on their sites have little or no value.

If you struggle to generate income from affiliate revenue you do have the option of generating income from links sales. You must of course ensure that your sites are quality sites, plus of course you do not want to turn your sites into link farms. In regards to links sales, the web currency is dollars. Before we proceed a word of warning! Google states that webmaster should not sell links. Google also states that webmasters who do sell links will be penalised. From experience I can tell you that if you are reported or even caught by Google selling links your site could be stripped of any Google Page Rank it may have obtained. Some sites have also lost their rankings due to link sales. Despite Google’s stance on link sellers, the link selling market is immense. At the end of the day quality links are the main factor for sites ranking, so as you can imagine webmaster are going to do there upmost to obtain quality links.

Golden Rules For Link Sellers

If you intend to sell site wide links in your sidebar don’t be foolish and give the title of your links section a name such as “Sponsors” or “Links” etc. It is common sense to give this section of your site a title such as “Great Resources” or “My Favourite Sites” etc.

Never advertise the fact on your site that your are prepared to sell links. An “advertised here” link which links to a page with link sales prices is extremely foolish.

Never include the actual site name in a thread advertising your links. Remember Google crawls virtually every web page plus you open yourself up to someone simply reporting your site to Google.

Don’t overdo it!  Don’t get greedy! I have seen some webmaster have over 20 external links in their side bar which are obvious links sales. These will vastly dilute the actual PR of the site plus will give potential buyers poor value. In general the fewer external links on the page the juicier the page which makes it more attractive to link buyers.

Different Types Of Link Sales

For the purpose of this article let’s imagine that you have quality sports betting website that has a Google Page Rank of 3 (PR3).

Site Wide Links

Many webmaster prefer to purchase site wide links. Basically these are links that appear on every page of your website. If your site uses a blog CMS such as WordPress then links in your sidebar will be popular. Gambling webmaster expect to pay $30 to $50 per month for site wide PR3 gambling links.

Home Page In Content Links

These perhaps are my favourite type of links. Home Page In Content Links look more natural than site wide links as the link appear in at least a couple of lines of text. A good example of this sort of link would be….

If you can drag yourself away from the World Cup action there are some great Poker Bonuses available at the moment. Poker Stars are offering all new sign ups up to $600 Free!

A link anchored to the  text “Poker Bonuses” looks far less like a paid link than a link in the side bar. Again for a PR3 home page link you could expect at the very least $30 to $50 per month.

Internal Page In Content Links

These types of links are similar to Home Page In Content Links but of course appear in internal pages. To aid the page rank development of internal pages make sure important internal pages are linked site wide on your website. A good example is the page links that appear in the side bar of this site (look right). Also ensure that you build links to internal pages. Again expect  $30 to $50 per month for these types of links.

Blog / Article Posts Links

These are simply full blog posts or articles that contain links posted on a site. Personally I don’t like to see blog posts with more than 2 links as I think they look spammy. In most cases webmaster will offer to add a blog post or article to their site written by a webmaster of another site. Some link sellers will even offer to write the article. I’m a great fan of these type of “in content” links as they look natural plus you can really push your site including either links or in some cases  a couple of great “calls to action”.

Prices vary depending on the quality of the site plus also depending if the seller has to write the article. Many link sellers will ask for a “one off” price so that the article will exist on the site forever, whilst  others will ask for a monthly or quarterly price. I know of a couple of webmaster who have a small network of quality sites and make a decent income from selling blog posts each week. Prices can range for as low as $10 to $100+ for permanent blog posts.

Even with 3 or 4 quality gambling sites it is clear that you can generate  decent income from links sales alone, although you will always be at the mercy of Google. You could generate further income by creating quality content for gambling webmasters but I think I will cover that topic in a future article.

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There is no doubt that this year Google has turned up the heat on affiliate sites. Affiliates sites have been hit hard with 2 updates during Feb and late April / May this year. Many thought this was the end of the onslaught but this has been proved not to be the case with more reports of sites being hit during June. So what is the state of play so far? How are the updates affecting affiliate sites?

Firstly it seems new sites are harder to index than ever before for competitive key phrases, whilst new sites targeting uncompetitive key phrases still seem easy to index.

Many new sites that are fully indexed are not generating any long tail traffic. This seems to be part of the so called May Day update. It looks like the existing Google Sandbox has been extended with sites needing to generate far more trust before Google will rank the site’s long tail key phrases.

Many established aged sites scraping products from merchants using well known affiliates type scripts have been wiped out the index. In the past it has become clear that Google does indeed target affiliate scripts. What is worrying about recent events is that even sites using bespoke scripts have been hit.

There also is no doubt that users are also using Google search options such as latest, last 24 hours and past 4 days etc which again will affect affiliate traffic.

To get a better understanding of how to combat the Google updates then perhaps we should take a look at sites that have increased their traffic during recent updates. Big brand type sites with 500+ pages of quality content with a steady flow of new content added daily it seems are thriving!

My advice at this stage would be simply to build quality sites. Move away from building thin affiliate sites with exact match domains in favour of big brand type sites. Make your site unique so keep away from standard affiliate templates plus of course well known affiliate scripts.

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If your network comprises of thin exact match domain affiliate sites be afraid, be very afraid as Google is killing affiliate sites. Two major updates during Feb & May this year has seen affiliate sites hit like never before across many different niches. The attack on affiliate sites has been in progress for some time although it clearly looks like this year Google has stepped up the attacks. Over the past couple of years I have seen many affiliate sites hit. It started with those using scripts to scrape Ebay & Amazon data with Google simply targeting sites using well known scripts. What does amaze me about the latest sites to be hit is than many were using custom scripts. I believe the tweak to the long tail algo is also responsible for many affiliate sites being hit. There is no doubt that many affiliate sites simply targeting the same product titles (long tail key phrases) have been hit extremely hard.

Luckily for me I made the switch away from thin exact match domain sites in favour of building big brand type sites over 2 years ago. I will tell you that my quality brand sites have increased long tail traffic since the Feb & May Day Google updates. I have though seen a drop in rankings in some of my lower quality sites which if I’m honest deserve to lose rankings. Now here is my take on the latest updates although it is up to you how much you make on my comments.

It is clear that Google has been targeting affiliate sites by simply looking at well known product scripts many affiliates have been using. This started last year with the demise of those using scripts such as PHPBay. To me it seems clear that any affiliates using well known affiliate scripts in their sites should be worried. The same perhaps can also be said for those using well known affiliate templates. If your sites are using either of these then you can easily be identified as an affiliate site and so you are a potential target to be hit. Don’t be a bloody sheep! Make your sites unique!

Don’t fall in to the exact match domain trap! Many new affiliates simple over estimate search volume anyway, only generating a trickle of traffic for their actual domain. As I have said many times, a decent branded site crammed with quality content will have far more SERP power than a thin exact match domain site. Build a brand and build it big!

I also believe many types of links have now been devalued. Many affiliates waste time with links that have no value. I would rather have a handful of quality links than thousands of forum signature links, blog comment links and even link exchange links on weak pages. The truth of the matter is that decent authority sites can end up with powerful internal links that can easily outrank even exact match domains. Build a brand and build it big!

My next comment I know is controversial and will piss many off but let’s be honest. Google wants to provide its users with quality content. In regards to many affiliate sites this simply has not been happening. We all know in the past it has been far too easy to jump on the affiliate gravy train. With a decent bankroll you could simply buy a quality exact match domain, buy an affiliate theme, load a rake back script then you simply could get your cheque book out buy quality links. In time this would give you a decent ranking plus of course great revenue if you knew what you were doing.

I’m not saying Google has got it right yet, but I believe it is on the right track. The recent updates, plus what is going to come, will hit affiliates hard. Affiliates are going to have to adapt by building quality authority sites which in the long term will equate to better search results from Google.

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For my next few posts I’m going to run through some of the myths regarding Google. For some reason webmaster have become paranoid regarding Google statements, or in many cases rumours of Google statements. Don’t believe everything you read on SEO or affiliate forums!

Google Penalises Webmaster That Buy Links

This is simply not true. I have never witnessed any webmaster receiving any sort of penalty for buying links. If you check the back links  for some of the big players in the gambling affiliate industry you will find that in many cases they have spend a small fortune on links. Google is though known for slapping penalties on link seller’s sites. The penalties result in the site losing some or all of their Google Page Rank plus in some cases their rankings. If Google did issue penalties for buying links then you could simply buy links for your competitors then report them, thus destroying their rankings.

Duplicate Content Is Penalised By Google

Again this is simply not true. Google will discount links that appear on duplicate content but there is no evidence what so ever that duplicate content is penalised. If you think about a big breaking news story in many cases the story is syndicated over hundreds of sites. It simply would be crazy for Google to penalise these sites. So if 10 sites published the exact same story which one and how many would rank? I carried out a test last year submitting the same articles to 20 article directory websites. Within 2 weeks I could see 12 versions of the article on Google search pages 1 to 7. After just a couple of weeks the back links from the articles increased the rankings of the key phrases used. During the next few weeks many articles starting to be removed from the Google index and of course the rankings gained started to drop. After 5 weeks, only 2 versions of the article remained in the Google index.

Taking this a step further I started to build quality links to one of the articles that had been removed from the index. After around 4 weeks this version of the article had the highest Google ranking. It is clear that when Google finds duplicate content it takes the metrics of the site where the content is held plus the links to the article into consideration. In theory you could copy someone’s article, build quality links to it, outranking the original content perhaps even knocking it out of the index.

Only Build Links That Are Relevant To Your Niche

You guessed it, again this is not true. Many quality affiliate webmaster will acquire links on sites that are not relevant to their niche. In many cases they will do so for page rank juice. I have experienced this with test sites in the gambling niche, acquiring links from sites that were not even remotely close to relevant to the niche of my test site. The test site acquired decent rankings and a healthy page rank.

To be continued……….

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Becoming a successful gambling affiliate is no easy task. Many dream of working a couple of hours a day whilst raking in thousands each month. Of course it is not like that. Those who make it work hard and are of course dedicated. Building a successful site or even network takes a great deal of time and effort.

As we know Google changes, online gambling is evolving and of course so are our reader’s requirements.  Even when we get to the stage where our sites our generating a decent monthly income we should not switch off simply because we think we have made it.

For those just starting out in the gambling affiliate industry, or perhaps those struggling, take a few minutes to watch the video below. You simply will not get better advice!

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Please excuse this article because the main person I’m writing this for is myself. Yes this is very self indulgent but perhaps it will spur me on to get these tasks actually done. These are tasks that I know will make me more money but as they are in many ways awkward I have put them off for years.

Target Other Demographics

I am so stupid! I promote UK gambling sites to UK residents even though the UK market is saturated with gambling affiliates. I would say the UK and US markets are the toughest of all. Why oh why have I not already spent a few days to get some of my sales pages translated to target softer European countries. Many of the UK gambling sites even have landing pages for other European countries which would help conversions no end. So why have I not bothered? All I need to do is find somebody who offers a decent translation service plus spend an hour or two adding an “International” section to some of my sites. I will get this done this week!

Tidy Up Half Finished Sites

Like many affiliates I have many sites that I have started but then deserted them as my time was either needed elsewhere or I decide the site was simply not going to work. At the very least I should tidy up these sites so they are more presentable. I could then add links to help my SERPs of my earning sites. Perhaps even target a new key phrase or two.

Server upgrade

This is the big one! My main server is two years old which is over 70 in human years, LOL.  A new server would give me more CPU power, more RAM and more disk space for the same price. Yes it could be a pain to get everything transferred but in the long run I know it is worth the effort. This would be a great time to reorganise all my sites so I’m more efficient. I will get this done next month!

I will report back next month.

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I want this site to be an honest guide for those new to the gambling affiliate industry. There are many great aspects to working in this industry although there are also drawbacks.

I will be honest and say that in general the gambling affiliate world is knee deep in bullshit. From crappy new gambling affiliate programs that have virtually zero chance of long term success to utter garbage that is spewed on affiliate forums. As a new affiliate you need to develop some form of bullshit detector pretty sharpish.

Many times over the last five years I have seen many piss poor garbage skins being promoted as the latest super hot program that is going to make affiliates a fortune. I steer well clear of skins since I got my fingers severely burnt by the Microgaming / Tusk fiasco that saw many poker players lose their entire bankrolls. Of course Microgaming just sat back and did sweet FA. Skins are in general high risk. Skins on small networks are extremely high risk. The recent Aced Poker saga is a prime example why I will never promote any site on the Merge network. Let’s be honest about Merge. Merge has been open to US player for years but still remains one of the smaller networks. If the Merge network was even close to being a quality network then it would have vastly increased its numbers during the last few years

If you read about a new technique to boost your rankings on an affiliate or SEO forum then you can virtually guarantee that the technique has been flogged to death and is no longer of any use. I will be honest and say each year there are indeed a few techniques that come to light that do generate great results but these techniques are strongly guarded. Once they become available to the masses (and of course Google) they quickly become ineffective. I’m sorry to say though that many new affiliates want instant success so you can virtually guarantee that just like sheep they will follow the hype.

When I select a program to promote I believe I am putting my name to the program. I’m never going to promote any program that I’m not 100% positive is trustworthy, offers quality game play, offers my players value plus has great support. I strongly believe that if I only offer the very best programs to my readers that I can build a long term relationship with them ensuring that they will return to my sites time and time again. Don’t treat your readers like idiots. If you give a piss poor program a great review simply to line your own pockets then don’t expect your readers to trust your affiliate site again.

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After testing I would like to say that I no longer think that it is detrimental to use dropped domains. Just a couple of months ago I launched a new site using a domain that had been dropped several times without any penalty. Looking at search results I can now see several new domains targeting semi competitive key phrases again without any noticeable penalty.

Prior to this year’s Feb and May algo update there was no doubt that dropped domain simply did not rank as well as other aged domains especially for competitive key phrases. It now seems clear to me that this is no longer the case.

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I have posted about this on a few affiliates forums with to say the least a like warm response. I will say again that during the Google updates in Feb and May 2010 the Google Sandbox effect has been extended. New sites are being hit harder than ever before. I picked up on this after the Feb update as I noticed new sites were in many cases getting no long tail traffic. At last I’m starting to see on some affiliate forums that many with newish sites are posting that they have lost most if not all of their Google traffic.  Now I know many will say, sit back, let the dust settle and let’s see how things are in 6 months time. This though is no use to me! If we all just sat back then we all would get nowhere! I wrote a few lines about The New Google Sandbox last week so if you have not read that post read it.

So following on from my previous post I now have 3 news sites. One is ranking superbly, one is just starting to show signs of life in Google plus the third has been launched this week. I have also passed on the methods used to a friend to combat the new Google sandbox effect.  So far he is getting very little Google traffic but he simply needs to wait. I believe my second site is the key site. I strongly believe this will rank nicely in Google within a couple of weeks. I believe my friend’s site will also “kick in” within a couple of weeks and rank highly. I’m not going to use the new methods on the third site so I can gauge how long the new sandbox effect takes to be removed naturally.

I must admit I enjoy the challenge of fighting Google’s new algo changes. I have over 70 sites which range from 3 pages to over 300,000 pages, from thin sites to content rich sites and from new sites to sites over 5 years old. Because I have such a wide spread of different sites, I am in a better position than most to understand the effects of new Google updates. I can simply examine the data from my sites before and after the updates to see what has actually occurred. I picked up on the May Day Long Tale algo update within a couple of days although many dismissed any form of algo update.

As affiliates we have to rise to the challenges that Google sets us. There will be many algo updates that will hit us hard for years to come. Those that are prepared for major changes and willing to search out solutions will prosper more than those who simply wait for others to provide solutions.

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Ask SEO consultants about the power of links from directories and most will tell you that directories are no more than link farms. I will tell you that this simply is not true! Of course I realise some directories are indeed no better than spam sites but I will say there are some real gems out there.

When I first started out as a gambling affiliate I will be honest and say I simple purchased my rankings. Each quarter I would spend a small fortune on links. Looking back I did not have a clue about the quality of links I was buying as I simply purchased links with PR as many affiliates still do today. I soon realised this was false economy as I would have to keep renewing links for eternity. Now I’m not saying that I will never buy links again, or I’m not saying that gambling affiliates should or should not be buying links. I’m just saying that I wanted to increase my ROI by not spending so much each quarter. The answer was to build my own network.

During the last couple of years I have built a decent network that feeds my earning sites. Part of this network I will admit consists of gambling directories. As I now understand url and domain metrics I can tell you that many of my directories have great power and can quickly increase the SERPs of a new key phrase I may target. I have proved this to myself by targeting key phrases with directory links alone.

I have a network of general directories. Some of the biggest SEO companies online have been happy to purchases links on these directories on behalf of the biggest companies in the world.  Why would they do this if directories were no better than link farms?

Many affiliates simply wrote off link building with directories years when I believe it was reported Google made a statement regarding the value of directory links. If I believed every Google statement then I would be waiting years for my sites to gain back links naturally. The gambling affiliate niche is one of the toughest plus most profitable sectors to work in. We have to fight for our rankings with some of the best SEO minds online. You are not going to win a war with sticks when the opposition have tanks!

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Yesterday I spent an hour or so talking to someone who was thinking about venturing into the world of internet marketing. She wanted to know how to get started plus what plan of action she should take to give herself a better chance of success. She told me about her idea (not gambling related) plus her ideas for content, which by all account would keep her busy for some time. I was very surprised to hear that she had also done a large amount of research in regards to how she was going to generate income from her site. I’m always amazed how most new to the affiliate industry dream up great ideas for sites but give very little thought into how their sites will make money.

To me her idea would be easy to brand so as you can guess I was dismayed to hear that she was in the process of bidding a small fortune for an exact match domain. I sat her down to show her how to do a little research regarding the traffic the  exact match domain would generate if she even managed to ranked top 3 for the phrase. Then we did a little more research to find out what would be required to obtain a top 3 ranking. It soon became clear to her that she was wasting her time with the domain. Even if she did manage to purchase it, unless she ranked top 3 she was going to get very little traffic. Worse still was that the key phrase of her domain was too narrow for her niche.

Why affiliates think that they need an exact match domain I will never know. Google hates affiliate sites more than ever before, plus there is now growing evidence that branded sites are more effective in regards to return visitors. A good example is one of my major sites. It is one of the biggest UK poker forums although it has neither “poker” nor “forum” in the domain name. I have I think, done a great job of branding it. Many quality poker players have been seen wearing shirts with my forum logo. The brand of the forum is easily associated with the logo, which even has been seen on TV. I generate hundreds of new visitors to my site each month simply by typing the brand name into search engines. This to me proves how creating a brand can really work for you. Brands sell!

Many new affiliates put far too much emphasis on exact match domains, when in the real world they have less power than before. For example let’s look at online bingo affiliate sites. The big players have sites such as Bingo Port, Bingo Base and Bingo Street. These affiliates know the power of a brand and have worked hard to establish their own brand.

So my tip for any new affiliate who is trying to build a long term future in the affiliate industry is to build a brand and don’t worry about exact match domain.

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As I have said I have been working in the gambling affiliate business for over five years. I have though from time to time dipped my toes into other niches over the year. I have had success with finance, dieting, plus best of all detoxification affiliate marketing. On the whole most other niches are far less competitive than gambling. The trouble is though they are nowhere as profitable as the gambling niche can be when you get it right.

I think all gambling affiliates should give another niche a try. I would guess that many new gambling affiliates fail in the gambling affiliate niche giving up with the affiliate industry altogether. I reckon perhaps the best route would be to perhaps start off with an easier niche, build your marketing skills and your confidence before even attempting to generate gambling sign ups.

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The main affiliate deals offered by online gambling operators are offered to all no matter how many sites you have, the amount of daily traffic you generate or most importantly the amount of revenue your network is generating. To me this seems not to be fair. Should a novice affiliate get exactly the same rate as someone who has been working in the industry for years? Should somebody with a single site with poor quality content get the same rate as somebody with 20+ sites in his network crammed with quality content? Of course not! Operators know this and  in most cases they will negotiate with succesful affiliates.

For those who have been successful in the gambling affiliate for some time with proof of earnings for their sites I would recommend that even before adding links from a new operator, that you contact the site’s account manager. It’s the account manager’s job to get quality affiliates promoting his brand so he will welcome your call or email. In many cases he will ask for proof of sign ups and revenue generated from your sites so make sure you have these at hand.

The same also applies if you have been promoting a site for some time pushing your monthly revenue up to at least £500 per month. When you get to this stage contact the site asking for a better deal as you have proved you are successful & committed to promoting their brand.  Remember not only are you generating income for yourself, but also the operator you are promoting. In most cases you will find it easier than you would expect to secure a better deal. If you fail then ask what monthly target you should reach to secure a better deal. Over the years I have listened to many sob stories form operators about tight margins, increased overheads and of course how their superb support is worth an extra 5% anyway. Strange that when I say that I’m thinking of switching to another site they offer me a better deal.

For new affiliates starting out in the gambling affiliate industry I would strongly advise you to really push one site. Of course promote other sites but try and push as much traffic as you can to your main site. Working this way you will be in a position to negotiate a better deal much sooner than if your revenue was split between several operators. Once you have an improved deal this is virtually like a golden ticket to contact other operators to secure other better deals.

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Firstly let me start by saying there are some that doubt that any Google sandbox actually exists. This of course is total nonsense as Google even admitted that the sandbox effect is indeed real. Launch a site targeting competitive key phrases plus building quality links will at first give you a half decent ranking. Two to four weeks later though you will lose your ranking for at least two weeks to maybe even months. I have built over 70 sites over the last few years and have experienced the sandbox effect over and over again. For less competitive key phrases I have though escape the sandbox effect.

Looking at recent posts on affiliate forums plus from my own experience I have noticed a new form of sandbox during the last few months.  Prior to Feb 2010 a new site could pick up traffic quickly by simply targeting long tail key phrases. Simply spending a good few hours researching long tails then composing 50 or so articles utilising these long tails I could guarantee a steady stream of traffic even with a new domain. During the last few months though things seem to have changed!

Many are reporting that new sites even on aged domains are simply not getting any long tail traffic. During early Feb 2010 I launch a new site targeting uncompetitive long tails key phrases  and was dismayed to find although the new pages indexed quickly they were not ranking anywhere close to where they should have resulting in zero traffic. Searching affiliate forums it was clear that others were experiencing the same sort of problems.

Next I launched two more test sites. Both were new domains with of course no history of previous pages indexed. Both site targeted very uncompetitive long tail key phrases that prior to Feb 2010 should have easily ranked on the first page of Google. Both sites failed to rank anywhere close to the first page so received little traffic.

I worked on one site to fool Google that the site had a decent amount of authority and boom! Within 3 weeks the site was ranking highly whilst the other was struggling to gain even a trickle of traffic a day. I’m just now focusing on the other site doing exactly the same as I did with the first site. If traffic vastly increases during the next 3 weeks then perhaps I have an answer?

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Read any affiliate forum and I will guarantee you will find at least a few threads that discuss the virtues of CPA v Revenue Share. I have discussed this topic many times over with many affiliates over the years. This though is a topic though that will rumble on for years to come as there are many variables that affect the outcome. Remember I’m based in the UK where online gambling is legal so my views on this debate will in many cases differ from those based in America.

Let’s first look at the type of sites I like to promote. I know most Americans know about Bet365, Party and Ladbrokes but there even better UK sites to promote that perhaps I will post about in more detail at another time. One thing that really puts me off Bet365 is that they do have a negative carry over policy. I know chances are slim that one of my players may win big but I like to play things safe so I’m never going to make Bet365 one of my main sites while they retain their carry over policy.

I always prefer to promote UK sites with joint wallets. I’m of course referring to sites with poker, sports book, casino and even bingo. From experience I will tell you that poker players will also dabble with sports betting, casino games and yes even bingo. The same can also be said for casino, sports book and bingo players.

UK sites in general do a great job marketing to their player base. A player that has signed up to a poker room will get not only emails regarding poker promotions but also on big UK sporting events such as the Grand National, The Derby and of course football. We love our sport in the UK with popular betting sports including football, horse racing, greyhound racing, cricket, rugby, motor racing plus many others.  As you can imagine a player who signs up to a UK poker room may go on to generate more revenue for the affiliate from sports betting than from poker. Also don’t forget that many poker players may go on a degen session playing slots or blackjack which could generate thousands of pounds for the affiliate.

The main gambling portals in the UK are rock solid. Many have been around for over a hundred years prior to launching online gambling sites. We UK affiliates simply don’t have to worry about the UK sites we are promoting going bust or trying to not pay us. Add to this the high brand loyalty in regards to gambling sites in the UK and you should start to realise that I’m simply never going to trade revenue share for CPA.

I think many affiliates fail to break away from their own demographic. This is defiantly something I have been guilty of but I plan to work on this during the summer months. On the whole many of the sites that allow American sign ups are not even close to the standard of UK gambling sites. Of course Poker Stars & Full Tilt are quality sites but the same simply can’t be said for other sites. I have lost count of how many sites that do allow US sign ups have gone bust or have screwed affiliates. Many don’t have anything other than poker plus many are dam right poor quality sites. For these sites I would simply not have the confidence to accept revenue share. The chances of gaining decent traffic and revenue then seeing a site fold or screw me out of commission are simply too high for my liking. For these type of sites I would simple try and get the highest CPA possible and at the first sign of trouble bail out at fast as I can.

The trouble though is even if you get a decent CPA deal then in regards to your players you are still going to look bad when or if these site go down. Even if I was based in the US I would simply promote UK sites to build up a stable and secure player base on revenue share. It is clear to me that when gambling is legalised in the US, the UK sites are going to be in prime position, with other sites, that have in effect been sticking two fingers up to the US government having little chance of obtaining a license.

So for me it is revenue share all the way, working with quality UK sites, generating traffic from the UK plus emerging markets in Europe.

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Earn Whilst You Sleep

When you have established your website and are generating healthy daily traffic you will get to the stage when you are generating revenue even when you sleep. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning and checking your stats to find out how much you have earned whilst you have been sleeping.

Be Your Own Boss

Working for yourself is so rewarding. You get all the rewards rather than just a small slice of the pie if you are working for an employer. The harder you work the greater the reward!

Work When You Want

Working online you are no longer shackled to a 9 to 5 routine. You can simply work when you want where you want!

Give Yourself a Chance To Make It Big!

Most go through life with no chance of ever making a fortune. Stuck in a boring job with just enough to pay their bills and perhaps the odd holiday each year they have no prospects of anything better. I’m not going to promise you that you will make a fortune but at least you will be giving yourself a shot of doing so.

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Online Gambling Boom Still In Its Infancy

Millions of different products are sold online every day. It is a fact that sales online increase every year and will consider doing so for the foreseeable future. I know those in the US are struggling with UIEGA but it is a completely different story in UK and Europe.

Perhaps even only 5 years ago the average British punter would visit a high street bookie to place a bet or travel to casino to play blackjack, slots or roulette. How the world has changed! Nowadays most punters will simply gamble online. Online betting exchanges offer better odds than high street bookmakers with the bonus of more features such as “in play” betting. A typical online casino offers many more games than a live casino with free money for those who sign up. Another great draw is free cash in the form of sign up and reload bonuses. Can you imagine a live casino giving you £100 free as you walk through their door? Of course not!

A new study released by Merrill Lynch has reported that the Internet gambling industry is still in its infancy with a projected peek to hit around the year 2015. At that time Merryl Lynch predicts that the market will bring in $528 billion annually worldwide. The information is based on the progression of the industry from 2001. This year the projected earnings in the industry are said to reach $24 billion, double that of 2005.

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UK Gambling Affiliates Have An Easy Life!

I think compared to US gambling affiliates those of us based in the UK have an easy life. In the UK gambling is legalised and built in to our culture. Every high street has a betting shop, every town or city has at least a couple of bingo hall plus there are many horse racing courses and dog tracks around the country. Perhaps even more important the high street chains of betting shops including such brands as Ladbrokes, Corel, William Hill, Betfred, Victor Chandler plus many others have built successful gambling portals online. These businesses have been around for what seems like an eternity with many even listed on the stock market. On the whole affiliates promoting these brands don’t have to give a second thought to the prospect of these companies going bust or worry about getting paid each month. Things though are so different for US affiliates.

Poker sites such as Poker Stars & Full Tilt are squeezing every cent they can from affiliates. US affiliates are being pushed to promote other brands which are far less secure then the British brands. Every month there seems to be news of another poker skin that accepts US players has either gone bust or is struggling to pay affiliates. Many US affiliates have made the switch from rev share to CPA simply in many cases as they don’t trust the sites they are promoting in the long term. I would never even think about accepting CPA when promoting UK gambling sites. If I did, then I would be simply throwing money away. Remember many of the sites I am promoting have been around over 100 years. They are tried and trusted brands which are held in high regards not only in the UK but all around Europe. Most of these companies offer not only poker but casino, sports betting and even bingo. As most of them have a wallet that can be used for all types of gambling you should start to imagine how profitable each sign up can be.

Brand loyally is extremely high in regards to gambling in the UK. Looking back through my reports I have sign ups that have been generating revenue for me for over 5 years. Of course I have players who simply don’t play for months on end then one month they return. It seems clear to me that when gambling is legalised in the US, the British sites are in prime positions to exploit the new market. Perhaps it would be wise for many US affiliates to take a look at more of the British gambling companies?

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I thought I would write today about a comment that was sent to me regarding my comments on the state of the poker affiliate industry.

“OK then smart arse, if you are so clever what should new affiliates be targeting if in your opinion poker is such a bad starting option?”

Let me say I’m not that clever! I do though take the time to have a good look at what is going on around me. Firstly I’m going to stand by what I said about the state of the poker affiliate industry although I will give you a tip how to make things easier for yourself if you are determined to tackle poker.

For some reason many poker affiliates seem to stick to their own demographic like glue.  Just do a little research about emerging poker markets in Europe, check out a few of the big affiliates that are targeting Euro markets to see what key phrases they are using. Check the key phrases with the Google Adwords External Tool (yes I know it over estimates but it will give you an idea), then check how much easier it is to rank for the Euro poker key phrases. There are many offering superb translation services for as little as a few cents per word. Tackling these will give you a much better chance of success as they are much softer than the English speaking market.

Sports betting is a massive niche with many profitable sub niches still very soft. You can now bet on more things than ever before.  You can even bet on the outcome of reality shows all around the world. How about a site targeted to just betting on reality shows? These shows run throughout the year so this could be a very profitable niche. Your site could include gossip and news of the latest episodes plus of course how to put your money on your favourite. Your research and ideas for content could be simply generated by watching the shows! Tonight is the final of Britain’s Got Talent with an expected £1,000,000 to be wagered on the event.  Has anybody actually created a site to target this sub niche?

If reality shows are not your thing then how about looking for a micro niche in sports? How about just covering something like darts or motor racing? Include a diary of events plus news and tips. Just look at and online sports book and look for any sport that runs for a good few months each year. Avoid the likes of NLF or soccer. Look for the micro niches that few are tackling that you can build authority sites for. I can think of many sub niches where there are no or few decent sites.

Remember if you sign up a poker player and he deposits $100 and plays 9 x $10 +$1 sngs and blows the lot you are going to earn around $3. With a sports book sign up who wages and loses $100 you are going to earn $30.

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